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29 May 2019

Middle East ready for imminent changes in automotive aftermarket, survey reveals

Automechanika Dubai 2019’s Auto Aftermarket Outlook survey indicates new technologies at forefront of future transformation

Dubai, UAE: Global auto aftermarket professionals believe they’re more ready now than they were 12 months ago for imminent market changes, as new technologies, economic climate, and government policy play key roles in how the Middle East auto services industry will look in the next five years, according to a new survey.

A market survey of 1,250 auto aftermarket professionals showed that 67 percent of respondents feel their companies are ready to face the changes that will inevitably arrive in the future, compared to 55 percent of the 1,300 respondents to the same question one year ago.

The May 2019 survey was conducted ahead of Automechanika Dubai 2019, the Middle East and Africa’s largest international trade fair for the auto services industry.  It compares respondents’ answers to the same questions 12 months ago, indicating whether market perceptions have changed with time. 

The full report and findings will be revealed on the first day of Automechanika Dubai, which opens for the 17th time from 10-12 June 2019 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Answered by distributors, manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, retailers, consultants and service providers, the survey showed that while technology is still the chief reason for change in the next five years, political and economic scenarios will have a bigger role to play.

When asked what would be the reasons for future change in the Middle East auto aftermarket, 64 percent of respondents in 2019 cited change in automotive technology, versus 74 percent in 2018.

Meanwhile, 48 percent of respondents in 2019 believed that regular political and economic improvements or slowdowns will be the chief factors driving change in the next five years.  This is six percentage points higher than in 2018, indicating external factors beyond the industry’s control might have a bigger say in how the aftermarket looks in the future.

“The Automechanika Dubai Market Outlook is an annual survey we conduct every year to ascertain the current situation in the regional aftermarket, where it’s headed, and where the potential opportunities are in the Middle East,” said Mahmut Gazi Bilikozen, Show Director for Automechanika Dubai.

“It’s clear that the automotive industry, and the aftermarket as a result, is undergoing a rapid transformation, but it’s a positive indicator that industry professionals appear more confident their businesses can still survive and ultimately be more successful in a market that will no doubt look very different in years to come.”

The Middle East Automotive Aftermarket Outlook 2019 survey findings will be presented at Automechanika Dubai’s Innovation Zone, which returns for its second year, providing fresh insights into new technologies and products that are shaping the regional automotive aftermarket’s future.

The perception that electric vehicle technology will challenge petrol and diesel the most has increased year-on-year, with 51 percent of respondents believing electric cars will be the chief challenger to the internal combustion engine, compared to 47 percent in 2018.  Confidence in hybrid and hydrogen cell vehicles as the big challengers appears to have waned slightly year-on-year.


Tellingly, more than two thirds of the survey (68 percent) agree that CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric) mobility is already happening in a big way or will dominate the market in the Middle East within the next five years, which is 12 points higher than in 2018 (56 percent).

More than half (55 percent) also say they would expect to see Return On Investment (ROI) in alternative fuel vehicles repair equipment in five years if they were to invest in it, while a further 35 percent say ROI would be seen within two years.

But while 55 percent of respondents in 2019 (no change from 2018) indicated that customers had started approaching them for products and services for non-petrol or diesel engines, 61 percent of garage or workshop respondents had not yet invested in new equipment for electric vehicles.  A further 35 percent said that, while they know what equipment would be needed, it was still too early to make this investment.

Respondents were also asked for their thoughts on which key aftermarket product groups would face the most disruption in the Middle East in the coming years, these comprising Parts & Components; Electronics & Systems; Accessories & Customizing; Repair & Maintenance; Car Wash, Care & Reconditioning; and Tyres & Batteries.

There was very little movement year-on-year in what product groups respondents perceived would face the most disruption.  Parts & Components – the heart of the internal combustion engine – would face the most disruption in the next five years according to 56 percent of the survey sample in 2019, a slight drop from 59 percent in 2018.

This was followed by Electronics & Systems (37 percent in 2019, 35 percent in 2018), Repair & Maintenance (36 percent in 2019 and 2018), Accessories & Customizing (27 percent 2019; 26 percent 2018), Tyres & Batteries (23 percent 2019; 25 percent 2018), and Car Wash, Care & Reconditioning (12 percent in 2019; 14 percent 2018).

Organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, Automechanika Dubai 2019 will feature 1,880 exhibitors from 63 countries.  Its global influence is highlighted by the presence of 23 country pavilions and 34 international trade associations, while 90 per cent of exhibitors, and 52 per cent of the 32,000-plus visitors are expected to come from outside of the UAE.

The annual three-day event covers the six product sections of Parts & Components; Electronics & Systems; Accessories & Customizing; Repair & Maintenance; Car Wash, Care & Reconditioning; and Tyres & Batteries.  The 2019 edition will feature four new sub-sections of Agricultural Parts & Equipment; Body & Paint; Motorcycle Competence; and Oils & Lubricants.

Other features include the Truck Competence initiative, where 1,260 exhibitors will showcase their products dedicated to the entire value chain in the truck sector, from truck parts and accessories, to workshop equipment, body repairs and care. 

The Automechanika Academy (AA) also returns, featuring key presentations such as Dubai’s auto parts and accessories trade in 2018 by the Dubai Customs.  Other AA highlights include a series of sessions by AMENA and Tiqani, as well as AfriConnections, which explores rising opportunities in the African aftermarket.

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  • 2019