Global Update

Vehicle Customization Moves Closer to Mainstream in the UAE

 SEMA Delegation in Dubai
 The SEMA delegation visited Dubai-based TAM Automotive. The shop houses a state-of-the-art dyno and is currently working on a dizzying array of vehicles, including sport compacts and American hot rods as well as a host of Japanese and high-end European vehicles.  

The trend of upgrading vehicles with performance parts and styling products is on the rise in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The main issues concerning vehicle modification in the region, however, are the restrictions governing modifications and the lack of consistency of which the laws are enforced. Altering or making modifications to a vehicle could make it illegal to drive and put owners at the risk of fines and penalty points.

The recent Automechanika Academy, a conference held during the Automechanika Middle East trade fair, featured a series of presentations on regional and international car modification. The seminar gathered the deciding powers and key players in the industry who believe that the event is key to developing dialogue in the UAE on car customization and modification.

In a release covering the event, Farid A. Semaan, managing director of Ramy Trading, stated: “Since we are facing many problems in the field of car modifications in the UAE—especially with the authorities—it was extremely important to bring together the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA, UAE), SEMA and the car modifiers in the region in order to try and find a common language that would facilitate the task of everybody, while at the same time the modifiers business would flourish, the end users would enjoy their modifications, and the local authorities would be happy to have everybody under the law.”

SEMA’s Linda Spencer, who was one of the representatives of SEMA participating in the Automechanika Academy, said: “The discussions we had at and around Automechanika Middle East went beyond our expectations, and we believe that in the near future, the dialogue that was initiated here will lead to exchange of experiences and ideas.”

Automechanika Middle East is the leading event for the rapidly developing automotive aftermarket in the Middle East and Africa. In 2009, the event featured 966 exhibitors form 46 countries and a visitor attendance of 15,431 from 114 countries. The next Automechanika Middle East is set for May 2010.

Here are some current resources available to SEMA members regarding distributors, vehicles in use and the consumer market for specialty-equipment in the UAE.

UAE Top Distributors Database: To assist members in identifying key companies in the United Arab Emirates, SEMA has compiled a list of top distributors and retailers in the UAE.

UAE Vehicles in Use: List of vehicles in use in the United Arab Emirates.

UAE Auto Spare Parts and Accessories: The value for automotive parts, accessories and components alone is a multi-million dollar industry for the UAE. Strategically located between east and west, offering first-class port facilities, excellent infrastructure and logistic services, liberal banking policies and experienced manpower, the UAE has turned into the undisputed regional business hub serving the Middle East and North Africa region. Approximately 60% of total market import for the UAE is re-exported to other countries in the region. Total value for the UAE and the wider regional markets would exceed $10 billion.

For more international resources, visit