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Automechanika Dubai 2018 that’s a wrap

Automechanika Dubai 2018 came to a successful end last week, with newly inked partnerships, innovative product launches, and educational conference programmes sharing the spotlight at the Middle East and Africa’s largest automotive aftermarket trade fair.

The 16th edition of the annual three-day event concluded on 3rd May at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, having welcomed through the gates 31,971 visitors from more than 146 countries.

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Trade buyers, dealers, workshop owners, and industry professionals were treated to a wide range of products, solutions and services presented by 1,812 exhibitors from 61 countries, as the buzz on the show floor reflected fresh optimism that Dubai’s regional automotive aftermarket trade hub status is on an upward trend.

According to figures released at the event by Dubai Customs, Dubai imported, exported, and re-exported US$10.9 billion worth of spare parts and accessories in 2017, a three percent increase over 2016.  Dubai’s auto aftermarket trade volume also increased year-on-year, with 2.25 million tonnes of tyres, batteries, engine components and systems shipped through the Emirate in 2017, 8.4 percent up on 2016.

“We’re very pleased with the industry response to Automechanika Dubai 2018,” said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East.  “Exhibitor stands have been busy throughout, and the feedback we’re getting is that there’s greater geographic reach in terms of where visitors are coming from this year, which is crucial for our stakeholders to continue to expand their business links and distribution networks.

“We wanted to shine the spotlight on new products and solutions that are shaping the future of the regional auto aftermarket, and to that end our new Innovation Zone proved very popular,” Pauwels added.  “It’s also great to see leading global players in the auto services industry use Automechanika Dubai as a platform to announce new partnerships, underling its important role as a facilitator of business success.”

Pauwels referred to the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Automechanika Dubai 2018 between AutoPro, a subsidiary of ENOC (Emirates National Oil Company) and ACDelco, one of the world’s leading automotive spare parts and services brands.

The MoU will see both companies collaborate on a series of service centre locations across the UAE. In the coming year, up to ten sites will become the first AutoPro locations to be certified as authorised ACDelco service centres.

ACDelco, a division of American automaker General Motors, is a regular exhibitor at Automechanika Dubai.  Mohammed Al Fayyad, Customer Care and Aftersales Director for General Motors Middle East, said: “ACDelco’s collaboration with AutoPro is all about offering UAE customers the highest levels of convenience and peace of mind when it comes to receiving the very best automotive after sales service.

“A trusted brand with over 100 years of experience, ACDelco is a global leader in automotive replacement parts and related services; and now, with AutoPro, a staple of auto maintenance in the UAE, car owners will be able to benefit from the expertise of both companies’ combined expertise in both aftersales parts and service.

Automechanika Dubai covers the six product groups of Parts & Components and Electronics & Systems (1,102 exhibitors in 2018) Tyres & Batteries (221 exhibitors), Accessories and Customizing (219 exhibitors), Repair & Maintenance (200 exhibitors), and Car Wash, Care, & Reconditioning (70 exhibitors).

Wolf Oil from Belgium was one of the headline Repair & Maintenance exhibitors, and was showcasing its latest range of oils and lubricants for both passenger cars and heavy duty, off-road vehicles.

Damien Lecompte, Sales Director of Middle-East & Africa at Wolf Lubricants, said: “Automechanika Dubai is a vital touch point for Wolf, where we can talk directly to our partners, get acquainted with their changing needs, and to show how Wolf constantly innovates to enhance and maintain the performance of customers’ engines in the region.

“The Middle East and Africa is a booming market for us, and we’re looking to expand,” added Lecompte.  “We’ve had a lot of new potential prospects at Automechanika Dubai 2018 from the African region and Saudi Arabia, so it has been a great success.”

Automechanika Dubai 2018’s global significance was underlined by the presence of 23 country pavilions and 36 international trade associations, while more than half of the tens of thousands of trade visitors in 2018 came from outside of the UAE.

Automechanika Dubai returned with its popular Truck Competence initiative, where more than 1,500 exhibitors showcased products dedicated to the entire value chain in the truck sector, from truck parts and accessories, to workshop equipment, body repairs and care.

An extended Automechanika Academy programme also offered more insights into the present and future of the MEA automotive aftermarket, spearheaded by the Innovation Zone, where global players such as Renault, WABCO, and Beissbarth presented their latest products that’re ushering in a new era in automotive technology.

The Automechanika Academy also presented the 1st Smart Commercial Vehicles Middle East Conference, where the latest developments in smart, connected, sustainable and intelligent commercial vehicles was under the spotlight.

The 17th edition of Automechanika Dubai will return from 10-12 June 2019 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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Categories
Interviews and Reports

ACDelco 100 Years Anniversary

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This year marks a very special year for ACDelco worldwide, it is the 100 years Anniversary celebration for this top notch automotive brand that serves all your need when it comes to car parts, oil and lubricants, batteries and everything else needed for your car maintenance.

For this special occasion we have decided to sit down for a special interview with a special person that contributed a lot to the success of General Motors and ACDelco in the region: Mr. Mohammed Al Fayyad, Director – Customer Care and Aftersales, General Motors Middle East.

If we want to summarize the past 100 years for ACDelco success and expansion, what would be the best words to describe it?

The first words that come to mind are quality and trust. Aside from the insights we have gained over the last 100 years, the thing that makes ACDelco stand out is its dedication to delivering high quality, durable, reliable products that deliver on what they promise. This trust cannot be bought, but earned over years and years of customers coming back to a brand that they know won’t let them down.

ACDelco is best known for servicing American General Motors’ vehicles only, can you elaborate more on this topic?

The beauty of ACDelco is that it is absolutely not only for American or General Motors vehicles. We have 90,000 part numbers across 37 categories, many of which fit not only GM vehicles but many other brands from around the world. For example, no matter what brand of car you drive, in almost any case, there are ACDelco batteries, fluids and oils and accessories in our ‘ACDelco Professional Series’ that will suit your vehicle.

What type of products does ACDelco supply for the Middle East Region?

The ACDelco range is extensive, supplying everything you need to keep your car running. These include, but are certainly not limited to, engine oils, fluids, batteries, wipers, window tint film, shock absorbers, engine and chassis parts and brakes. Our customers have access to our full ACDelco range of which there are over 90,000 different part numbers across 37 categories of products.

If we want to talk about the most sold Maintenance Free batteries in the region, how can we describe the market share growth over the past decade for ACDelco Maintenance Free Batteries?

We have experienced steady growth in market share for our batteries over the last decade. In 2005 our share of the Middle East battery market was 33%, last year we posted 40%.

What does it mean to have ‘stamp grid’ technology in batteries manufacturing?

Our latest ACDelco maintenance-free batteries utilize stamp grid technology, which make them more durable in the tough climates seen in the Middle East. The plates housed within the battery casing, (which the current flows though) are manufactured using a continuous punching process, unlike other methods such as casted grid plates, (where molten lead is poured into a mold) or expanded grid, (where lead is perforated then stretched out to create a plate).

Unlike other methods, the grid within the plates is a non-uniform design with a solid frame around the edge. This minimizes corrosion and optimizes current flow for consistent power. The structure is a lot stronger and more durable than other manufacturing methods that may fail even before 50,000km. This is not an issue with the stamp grid batteries.

When it comes to boosting ACDelco in the region, what role did you and your team play in this regard?

My history with ACDelco goes back almost a decade. A couple of years before I was the Director of Customer Care and Aftersales, I spent three years as the Sales and Marketing Manager for ACDelco batteries, working closely with our customers and manufacturing partners at the Middle East Battery Company which is based in Dammam. Over this time, we have seen the brand continue to grow, our presence expand and the demand for our products strengthen. I put this down to the power of the brand and its reputation for quality and durability, but also our focus on our customers. A few years ago, we changed our parent department’s name from ‘Aftersales’ to ‘Customer Care and Aftersales’. It really highlighted the focus that we put on providing not only quality products but also a quality customer experience. As far as I’m concerned, putting your customers at the center of what you do is key for maintaining and growing your business.

Being an ACDelco dealer since 1978, Kamal Hibri & co. recently acquired ACDelco Maintenance Free batteries in Lebanon, what added value will this agreement bring for both parties and how will it affect the ACDelco Batteries market share in Lebanon?

It is fantastic that we have a strong distributor that will help to ensure our maintenance free batteries and quality customer service are accessible for customers in Lebanon. We believe that Kamal Hibri & Co., along with our extensive network of ACDelco distributors in the region, will continue to grow the ACDelco brand and its reputation for quality even further in the region.

After this interesting chat with Mr. Mohammed Al Fayyad, we head down to Beirut and in specific to Kamal Hibri & Co. to celebrate with the team not just the 100 years of ACDelco but also their recent acquisition of Maintenance Free Batteries agreement in Lebanon and for this occasion we sat down with Issam Hibri COO of Kamal Hibri & Co. for a quick chat.

Kamal Hibri & Co. started business in 1948 and acquired ACDelco brand in 1978 thus taking part in around 40 years in ACDelco History, what can you tell us about that?

Well, it all started in 1948 with the establishment of Kamal Hibri & Co. and grew rapidly in the Lebanese market to lead eventually at acquiring in 1978 the ACDelco brand. We are proud to be one of the contributors to the success of this brand in Lebanon and in the region as well, our hard work proved to be a key in the success of ACDelco in Lebanon and that was proven many times through the various awards acquired by Kamal Hibri & Co. throughout the years and recently we have been awarded for 3 consecutive years the award of “Wholesale development program award”.

Kamal Hibri & Co. recently acquired the ACDelco Maintenance Free Batteries in Lebanon and we know that this battery have a great advantage of other brands in many different ways, how will this contribute to the continuous success of Kamal Hibri & Co. with the ACDelco brand?

As COO of Kamal Hibri & Co. I can proudly say that the strategy we have been implementing in sales and customer care in Lebanon have contributed heavily in the brand success, we are the sole distributors of ACDelco parts, Oil and Lubricants and many other items in Lebanon and this have allowed us to acquire a huge network of distributors covering the Lebanese territory. Now with the acquisition of the Maintenance Free Batteries, our batteries division armed with the right tools, network and management will make benefit of this amazing product and increase our market share in the batteries’ field and we opt at exceeding our expectations this year in terms of ACDelco sales in general and the new ACDelco Maintenance Free Batteries in particular.

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