1. Can you please tell us about the inception of the Dubai International Motor Show – how it all began and the growth story over the years?
Launched in 1989, the biennial Dubai International Motor Show (DIMS) is now in its 13th edition and is the largest international automotive event in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Over the years, the show has attracted an impressive representation of the motor industry’s leading automotive manufacturers.
A driving force in the evolution of the motor industry in this region, the show attracts royalty, VIPs, top ranking government officials, car enthusiasts, families as well as international celebrities from the motoring world, which only strengthens its position as one of the most influential motor shows in the world.
The exciting news for this year is that we’re expecting more than 100,000 visitors to attend over the five days to see and experience a raft of global and regional launches presented by leading automotive companies and brands. This year will be like no other.
2. What factors make this show the most important in the region? How does it compare to others of a similar nature in the region?
The Dubai International Motor Show is now the single largest automotive event in the MENA region. It has established itself as the region’s truly international and most influential automotive event, bringing together global manufacturers, distributors, industry specialists and key-buyers as well as the affluent motor enthusiasts all under one roof.
Our line-up of launches this year is the most impressive of all. From super cars, concept cars to sustainable solutions as well as vintage classics, the show has it all. It will also feature a jaw-dropping collection from the world’s leading automotive manufacturers, tuning specialists and auto experts.
We’re always presenting new experiences and we feel this is what makes us different. Every two years, we introduce new activities and themes. This year, we have many pioneering visitor attractions such as the Boulevard of Dreams, Motoring Nostalgia UAE Motoring Museum, Open Road – Bikers Arena, Connected Car Showcase, Motor Living section, Tune & Style section, LCV Sector, the entertaining “Ignition” Live Talks and more.
3. What has the response from potential exhibitors been compared to previous years?
We have been overwhelmed with the excitement and increased levels of interest shown by some of the leading names in the automotive world exhibiting with us. We’ve already seen an increased number of returning exhibitors, whilst premium automotive brands such as Cadillac, Lamborghini and Jaguar have elected to boost their presence. This in turn has led us to expand the overall floor space by 23% to 85,000 square metres to showcase the new offerings and experiences.
Exhibitor feedback in 2013 was extremely positive – 94% of them rated the overall participation as good and excellent, 91% confirmed that their objective of sourcing new sales leads were met, 85% rated the quantity of visitors as good to excellent and 92% had plans to participate this year.
4. What made you choose “What Drives You” as the strapline? Please tell us more about your proposal to have a #WhatDrivesHer tagline aimed at a female demographic.
Our main focus for every show is to make a big impression and the Dubai International Motor Show is like no other. What we had in mind for this show is to grow our range of offerings and create new themes, new experiences and new activities to keep everyone engaged during the show.
We wanted to do just that with the #WhatDrivesYou tagline. We also aim to target female drivers through the #WhatDrivesHer campaign to demonstrate that men and women are equally passionate about cars.
5. From the perspective of global auto manufacturers, what makes the Dubai International Motor Show the ideal venue for the launch of a new model?
The positive number of exhibitor testimonials the show received in 2013 is reflected in the great numbers we received in our post event research. The Dubai International Motor Show proved to be the single largest platform in the region that is increasing and adapting to the changes in the automotive industry. Its location also plays a key role in making it stand out from others:
• The UAE was rated as the world’s sixth wealthiest nation by GDP per capita income.
• As per the latest Emirates NBD automotive overview research, the UAE is the second largest automotive market after Saudi Arabia and relies heavily on imports (cars represent 63% of the UAE’s total automotive imports from the world. The UAE is also one of the largest importers of used cars, and has become a regional hub not only for cars but also for vehicle parts and components in the entire MENA region.
• The Middle East is one of the world’s fastest growing markets for the automotive industry with almost every car manufacturer reporting double digit sales growth in 2013.
And now with over 100,000 visitors expected from across the globe and our 23% expansion, manufacturers have a bigger chance to reach their audiences and promote their latest innovations.
6. How many first time exhibitors will you be having at the show? What drew them to the show?
We have seen a remarkable addition of new exhibitors this year with 45% new companies coming on board so far. Similar to the factors that attracted our exhibitors who make sure they’re repeatedly with us every two years, the new exhibitors were able to touch on that and find the importance of penetrating the UAE automotive market via the Dubai International Motor Show.
Not only did they see the positive appeal the visitors have towards making buying decisions on the ground, but they also saw the prime attractions and experiences that we’ve created for our visitors this year. From the Boulevard of Dreams to the Bikers Arena and Motor Living section, visitors have access to a totally new and different automotive world that’s not similar to any other in the region.
The international profile of the show attracts high profile exhibitors and allows them to target a significant number of visitors from across the globe. It’s clear that business in Dubai is booming, and the city appeals to an international audience who is looking to do business here.
According to CBRE, a global consultancy firm, Dubai has maintained its position as the second most important international retail destination globally for the third year in a row. In addition, the 2015 Global Retail Development Index for 2015 says that the UAE as a market is growing steadily, and Dubai is considered the Middle East’s retail hub. All this adds to Dubai’s attraction as a center for tourism and business.
7. Can you tell us about some of the marketing campaigns that have been planned in order to promote the show?
As mentioned earlier, one of our main campaigns we’re focusing on this year is the “What Drives You” campaign. It is a multi-channel and cross demographic campaign that will involve targeted promotions and competitions on social media, as well as influencer engagement, a YouTube teaser video, Facebook apps and games. Away from social media, we will also partner with a top radio station where millions of listeners will be targeted. We do have other media partnerships covering print, TV and other sectors too, with a focus on the region and not just the UAE.
8. Vintage and classic cars are a great draw for car lovers. Will DIMS have a special section devoted to classic car fans?
We have it all! Yes, classic car fans aren’t forgotten and will have a totally dedicated section just for them. It will be the largest and busiest showcase that’s never been seen before.
This is one of the many new experiences we’re offering this year and we are thrilled to welcome thousands of visitors who will get closer to historic classics and vintage models inside our new Motoring Nostalgia UAE Motoring Museum.
The museum will showcase iconic classic cars through the generations from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s which all have made a significant contribution to the history of the automobile. Many of these cars will be instantly recognisable as they represent symbols from their respective eras whether they are vintage, retro, sports or famous film stars.
9. The UAE is known as the luxury car capital of the world. Will visitors have a chance to enjoy the sight of supercars at the show?
Visitors will certainly have the chance to enjoy supercars at this year’s show. It is also one of our main focuses as Dubai is the global hub for top supercars. This is reflected in the number of high-end exotics that will not only be displayed during the show, but more importantly – and unlike most other shows in the world – will be sold straight from the floor. The feature is called Boulevard of Dreams, and will feature some of the top super cars in the world from Spania GT, Panoz, David Brown to the UAE Roadster.
10. Many car enthusiasts love cars based purely on their design and performance. Will there be any opportunities at the show for car lovers to interact with knowledgeable professionals?
As the leading auto event in the region, we will present the highest levels of expertise in the industry. This year, we will have the first-ever dedicated visitor engagement theatre at the show where key personalities from the industry will engage with the public on the hottest topics shaping the motoring industry during our “Ignition” Live Talks sessions.
This theater will feature daily public engagement sessions where experienced speakers will discuss topics around motorsport, maintenance and tips, automotive for women, safety, design, bikes, tuning and drifting as well as driving and touring.
11. The DIMS is essentially a consumer show and one draw for consumers is the chance to win big prizes. Are there any such prizes on offer at the DIMS?
We have recently signed a strategic partnership with Switzerland Tourism which is hosting a global campaign celebrating the country’s 150th anniversary. Therefore, numerous prizes will be on offer, including a Grand Prize of return flights to Switzerland, a week-long car rental and accommodation for a family of four.
That’s just one example of what to expect in this year’s show, and visitors will be able to enjoy more, so watch this space!
12. Nick, you have dealt with exhibitions in different parts of the world including London, India and Brazil. What makes Dubai the leading venue for exhibitions in the Middle East region?
The UAE in general has shown high levels of success in adopting innovation with a focus to build a culture of innovation to develop tools to analyse data and create new ideas. In the latest announcements, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, urged leaders from multiple sectors including technology, tourism, education, media, banking and health sectors to promote this and encouraged them to share ideas that will contribute to investment development. With this, we know that companies will think of the UAE amongst the top venues to witness their growth and achievements.
With regards to Dubai as a city, there is no doubt that the burgeoning year-on-year investment, strength of expertise and considerable infrastructure already in place makes Dubai one of the leading destinations for all major exhibitions, conferences and events, not just for the Middle East region, but also around the world.
Dubai continues to amaze us and push the boundaries with modern construction and a big host of leading events including the Dubai International Motor Show. With over 100,000 visitors expected, we are honoured to be part of Dubai’s growth and vision.
From an industry perspective, manufacturers are also showing an interest in choosing Dubai for their launches. Industry data provider www.focus2move.com released information showing that global car, supercar and motorbike manufacturers view the Middle East as an increasingly vital revenue source – particularly in the sales of light vehicles. There are also predictions that the UAE’s booming automotive sales will spur growth in the country’s motorisation ratio from 361 light vehicles for every 1,000 residents in 2013, to 483 in 2020 – a remarkable increase of 33%.
13. Did you have any learning experiences during DIMS 2013 and how do you think they will help to make this edition better?
2013’s show was a tremendous success. We have closely analysed the manufacturer responses and the visitor numbers and they all reflect a successful show. This success means we have to exceed our 2013 efforts and create yet another automotive bonanza for 2015. Therefore, we have invested in expanding the show to allow more exhibitors to be part of this success and have increased our range of offerings with new themes and experiences. A sneak peak of the new features for this year includes:
• Our new Motoring Nostalgia UAE Motoring Museum, which is one of our main new attractions for this year and will see thousands of visitors experience our showcase of historic classics and vintage models like never before
• Boulevard of Dreams – this new dedicated feature displays the world’s hottest collection of supercars all under one roof
• Bikers Arena – helmet art, bikers lounge, custom bikes and more
• DIMS TV – our new video broadcast channel streaming show content on dozens of screens across the venue and online
• Ignition Live Talks – the first-ever dedicated visitor engagement theatre at DIMS where key personalities from the industry will engage with the public on the hottest topics shaping the motoring industry
• Light Commercial Vehicles Sector that caters to all who are looking for the latest news in light commercial vehicles
• Tune & Style – a fresh live feature for automotive tuners, car customisation garages and accessory retailers
• Also, there will be a full range of focused entertainment experiences from live radio broadcasts to social media competitions and thrilling outdoor activities
14. What do you like best about DIMS? And what advice would you give to exhibitors and consumers who visit the Show?
The event remains the largest and most prestigious for the auto industry in the region and appeals to many visitors from around the world whether they are car enthusiasts or experts. We are constantly impressed by the new innovations, technologies and future concepts that are revealed here and this creates an incredible buzz throughout the event.
I consider myself as one of the consumers, and I evaluate the level of success from a consumer perspective where every single detail is taken into consideration. My experience will be exactly what all visitors will have, therefore, I always focus on creating the best experience that will keep visitors and exhibitors engaged.
At this stage, I know that the show will hold more than what everyone expects. With all the industry movers and shakers coming together under one roof, it really is an event not to be missed. I suggest getting ready for new levels of excitement for the whole family, leaving enough time to visit every stand and participate in the competitions and the many prizes on offer.
Save the date this November!
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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