Global Update


Distributors, specialty automotive media and other members of industry recently met in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), at the Automechanika Middle East Show to foster the growing customization market in the UAE and the five other nations comprising the Gulf Coast region (Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman).

SEMA Vice President of Communications and Events Peter MacGillivray provided the audience an overview of the United States specialty market, as well as SEMA-crafted model legislation used to foster an open market for specialty products. 

SEMA representatives spoke at a recent seminar on the specialty-equipment market held in Dubai during the Automechanika Middle East Show.

MacGillivray also responded to questions about resources available to international buyers at the SEMA Show. Middle Eastern buyer attendance at the SEMA Show has grown steadily, reaching 163 in 2007.

Zlatko Mulabegovic, editor of Top Performance magazine, participated in the seminar and noted that “California is known to be one of world’s most stringent when it comes to emissions, noise pollution and illegal modifications. If a tuning product is legal in California, I'm convinced that it would be suitable for use in this part of the world, too."

From left: SEMA Director of International and Government Relations Linda Spencer; moderator and local radio announcer Michael Brightmore; Top Performance Editor Zlatko Mulabegovic; Supervisor of Certification Section, Conformity Assessment Department of the Gulf Standardization Organization (KSA) Waleed Abdullah Alsagr; and SEMA Vice President of Communications and Events Peter MacGillivray.

Key observations regarding specialty equipment and the vehicle market in the region include:

  • High density of SUV and other American cars and light trucks.
  • Sales of specialty products appear to be increasing.
  • The local industry is seeking new ways to work together to foster communication with government officials. There are reports of police harassment regarding aftermarket parts subjectively determined to be "too loud." 
  • The high level of disposable income in this region makes the Middle East an attractive market for both performance and styling customization.