ABU DHABI – There’s one industry in the United Arab Emirates that could easily fetch around Dh1 billion worth of business annually.
UAE residents seem to have shown their fondness of modified cars and bikes, and market for these commodities is big, a senior representative of the US-based Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) said in Abu Dhabi.
“The car culture that is developing here is phenomenal. There is a great opportunity for American companies to be able to come here, to be able to design parts specifically for vehicles in the market to upgrade their form, function or appearance,” said Wade T. Kawasaki, chairman of the board of the association.
“It’s a young market and there are young people that are modifying their vehicles,” added Kawasaki.
Kawasaki was speaking on the sidelines of Auto Festival 2018 that kicked off in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
The three-day event brings together a number of auto dealers and manufacturers specializing in modified cars and bikes to display their products and sell it to potential customers.
Saeed Al Marzouqi, chairman of Custom Events, the organiser of Auto Festival 2018, stressed that the modified car and bikes industry in the UAE is worth Dh1 billion.
More than 30 companies representing the association are taking part in the event. Among them are manufactures specializing in exhaust systems, wheels, engines, body covers, among others.
“Enthusiasts in the Middle East not only possess a passion for personalization but also have disposable income that makes it a very attractive region,” said Linda Spencer, SEMA’s senior director of international and government affairs.
Meanwhile, the market has been slightly down for modified bikes in the last couple of years due to economic conditions, according to the UAE-based auto dealers.
“The sales are down due to various reasons, including low economic activity. We are not selling like what we used to sell four to five years back,” said Graham Dewasurendre, manager of Dubai-based Top Speed Bikes.
He added that the price of a modified bike could start from Dh47,000 and go up to Dh200,000 depending on the design and modification.