DUBAI, The 16th edition of the Middle East and Africa's (MEA) largest automotive aftermarket trade and networking event opened today in Dubai, featuring 1,812 exhibitors from 61 countries.

Running for three days and spanning 63,350sqm at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Automechanika Dubai 2018 was flagged off by Mattar Al Tayer, the Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors at Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

The biggest names in the global auto services industry are out in force, showcasing their latest innovations across the show's six product groups of Parts & Components and Electronics & Systems (1,102 exhibitors) Tyres & Batteries (221 exhibitors), Accessories and Customizing (219 exhibitors), Repair & Maintenance (200 exhibitors), and Car Wash, Care, & Reconditioning (70 exhibitors).

With 23 country pavilions and a brand new Innovation Zone at the centre of the show floor in Hall 4, Automechanika Dubai 2018 arrives amid a sense of optimism in a MEA market where sales of auto parts and accessories is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of seven percent over the next five years.

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Automechanika Dubai's organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East, said: "Research shows that the MEA auto aftermarket was valued at US$22 billion in 2017, with sales of auto parts and accessories across the region estimated to reach US$31 billion by 2022. With a fleet size of 92 million passenger and commercial vehicles, the MEA is still a key market for global and regional aftermarket players.

Automechanika Dubai 2018 is expected to attract an audience of more than 30,000 trade buyers from 135 countries this week. Those seeking insights into the future of the MEA automotive aftermarket need look no further than the newly introduced Innovation Zone, where top global brands such as Renault, WABCO, and Beissbarth are presenting their latest products that're ushering in a new era in automotive technology.

Renault, the Innovation Zone's official sponsor, is showcasing in the dedicated area its ZOE Long Range electric hatchback along with its Twizy two-seater electric vehicle.

Marwan Haidamous, Managing Director of Renault Middle East, said the French manufacturer was the first to bring the electric vehicle (EV) to the market: "The Renault ZOE is still the longest range, affordable EV on the market today with a 300km real time range, and is fully equipped to handle the harsh Middle East weather conditions," said Haidamous.

"Renault is at the forefront of innovation, and with the current market development, it's essential that Renault as a brand cements its position as the number one EV selling brand in Europe. We plan to build on that to become the leader in the EV segment race which is currently emerging in the Middle East."

Automechanika Dubai 2018's global significance is underlined by the presence of 36 international trade associations, while Messe Frankfurt Middle East expects more than half of the tens of thousands of trade visitors this week to come from outside of the UAE.

Source: Emirates News Agency