By Katherine Clarkson
The tyres trade in Dubai has been booming, according to industry experts.
It made a quantum leap in terms of value in 2008, jumping 12 per cent compared to the previous year.
And even with the economic downturn, the wheels on the tyres market in the UAE are expected to keep turning in 2009.
Dubai is a transport-oriented city, which boasts one car for every 1.84 residents and in 2008 it had the highest rate of car ownership than any other city in the world.
The success is likely to be underlined at Automechanika Middle East, the largest event for the rapidly developing automotive aftermarket in the wider Middle East and Africa, at the end of the month.
Automechanika Middle East is an ideal platform for the tyre wholesalers and dealers, who represented the third biggest visitor group at the 2008 Automechanika Middle East exhibition, clearly demonstrating the vast business opportunities.
The absence of automotive manufacturing industries results in most of the vehicles and automotive parts being imported for domestic use and re-exports to other countries.
New car sales in the UAE has cratered amid the economic downturn, however, there is still a clear stability in the auto aftermarket and replacement industry.
The tyre industry is an attractive segment, with almost 75% of the total tyre production intended for the replacement market and the rest taken up by vehicle manufacturers.
As a lucrative market for other countries’ exports, Dubai’s potential is larger than its size would indicate.
A thriving re-exports trade market increases the demand; a large percentage of tyres imported into Dubai are for redistribution to neighbouring markets.
The positive trend for the tyre industry is not just limited to the UAE, but the entire Middle East is characterised by a diverse structure of economies, climates and transport conditions.
The lack of railway connections in the Arabian Peninsula forces most of the overland-transport on the road, making it a high-volume sales territory for tyre manufacturers.