By Linda Spencer
The SEMA Middle East Business Development Conference will provide members the opportunity to explore the market in the UAE and meet with buyers from throughout the region.
Meet pre-vetted buyers from throughout the Middle East at the third SEMA Middle East Business Development Conference being held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), March 11–14, 2014.
More than 160 pre-vetted buyers from nine countries met with 41 SEMA-member exhibitors at the 2013 SEMA Middle East Business Development Conference. Ninety-five percent of the world’s customers are located beyond United States borders. By diversifying, SEMA members can better position themselves for future economic downturns.
“The Middle East has tremendous upside for the performance market,” said Rick Trudo, CEO of Florida-based SCT Performance. “We have seen eight-to-one growth over our two years working with SEMA at this event. It plays a big part in our international growth strategy, as do China and Brazil. It helps take the potential inconsistency out of the U.S. market and gives us a strong offshoot to sell into.”
Motorsports and vehicle personalization have a strong and growing base throughout the region, and a quick drive around Dubai or Abu Dhabi would surprise any gearhead with the wide variety of customized vehicles traveling the roads. Off-roading is also extremely popular throughout the region with SUVs and pickup owners heading into the desert.
“Automotive styling in the Middle East is a confluence of influences from around the globe,” said David Borla, sales and marketing manager for Borla Performance. “Whether it’s musclecars, high-end exotics, Jeeps, pickups, SUVs, luxury sedans or sport compacts, you will find a cross section of the world’s finest automotive offerings. But it doesn’t stop there. Personalization is just as important as the platforms themselves, and there is a pervasive culture of tailoring vehicles to meet individual specifications, needs or preferences.
“The conditions in the Middle East have created a ‘perfect storm’ that promotes the growth and prosperity of the automotive aftermarket. Beyond the affluence and brand consciousness you see on the surface, there is a growing infrastructure of distribution and service that makes it easy for enthusiasts to buy, install and maintain aftermarket parts. Combine that with great roads and what seems like infinite sand dunes, and you have a giant playground for people who love to play with cars."
U.S. Department of Commerce $1,000 grants are available to help qualified companies defray participation costs.
The exploratory and sales trip to the UAE will include a tour of local shops and an opportunity to meet with buyers from throughout the region. Last year's event included buyers from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt.
For more information or to register, visit SEMA.org/MiddleEast. Read the SEMA News article covering the 2013 SEMA Middle East Business Development Conference.