Axalta Coating Systems, one of the market leaders in liquid and powder coatings, has formally opened its regional office in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA). Axalta opened this new office in Dubai driven by the growth in the region’s booming auto sector, which has made it an outperformer when compared to other key global markets. The new office is expected to play a crucial role in expanding its regional sales and customer service capability.
In addition to opening the new office, the company is also planning to commission a flagship regional Refinish Training Centre in Dubai by early 2017, which will serve as the venue for refinish technicians from all over the region to hone their skills and to learn how to get the most out of Axalta’s refinish brands. The opening of both the office and the training center will serve to mark Axalta’s 150th anniversary in the coatings industry.
Speaking about the new office, Charlie Shaver, Chairman and CEO of Axalta, who formally opened the new Dubai office said that the company’s investment highlights Axalta’s confidence in the region and its commitment to serve its regional customers with industry-leading coating solutions and services. Axalta is strong in both the transportation and industrial coatings segments and in view of the growth of consumer spending on vehicles and the rapid industrialization across the Middle East is in a position to cater to the needs of both these segments.
The UAE has topped the global growth rates for new car sales in the first eight months of 2015, and the wider Middle East car sales market is expected to grow twice as fast as those in Western Europe and North America in the decade from 2012 to 2022 according to Carmudi, a regional automotive publication.
It is expected that the sales of new cars in GCC countries will surge by almost 25 per cent to 1.75 units due to several factors including private sector activity, low interest rates, government spending and strong economic growth.
Shaver added that, with the new facility, Axalta expects to be more effective in building up brand awareness and help customers get maximum benefit from Axalta products, especially in the popular range of waterborne coating systems. He said that the company’s investment in the Middle East points to its expectation for additional business opportunities in this fast growing region.
Axalta developed its first range of coatings were developed in Europe in 1866 for horse-drawn carriages. With cars fast emerging as the leading form of personal transportation in the 20th century, Axalta’s Duco lacquers revolutionized the application of coatings with the first spray-applied, fast-drying automotive finish as the nascent technology significantly reduced paint-drying times from days to hours and opened up a new range of color choices to customers.
In the years since, Axalta has evolved into a leader in the coating industry and is today one of the top suppliers to light vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the number one global coatings supplier in the refinish segment, supplying to body shops and the vehicle repair industry. Axalta is also one of the largest global suppliers to manufacturers of commercial vehicles like heavy duty trucks and buses. When it comes to industrial coatings, Axalta is a global leading supplier to electrical insulation, powder coatings, and industrial E-Coat markets.
Axalta’s focus on research and development division is the prime reason for its success, as the company invests approximately four percent of its sales revenue into technology development every year, an amount equivalent to USD 165 million in 2015. Axalta also has four global technology centers manned by 1,200 scientists, engineers and technology staff who are continually working on innovative products and technologies which will provide customers with durability, protection, and a wider range of colors across the products and services to Axalta’s customers.
Axalta’s new office in the region will allow customers to benefit from the company’s extensive expertise in automotive color technology. The company set up the first-ever Color Advisory Committee over 90 years ago to craft colors specifically for cars. Currently, Axalta has built a database of more than four million colors – one of the most extensive in the world – for OEMs and collision repair technicians.
Axalta is also an industry leader in the development of products which can minimize the environmental impact of coatings. Waterborne coatings, other liquid coatings with low-to-zero volatile organic compound (VOCs) emissions and powder coatings with no VOCs or targeted hazardous air pollutants give customers a wide number of options. Axalta’s AquaEC electrocoat and Voltatex Energy Solutions products are available in tin- and formaldehyde-free formulations, respectively, while continuing to offer substrates strong protection against corrosion.
“As more customers adopt waterborne systems, they will complete their jobs faster, provide a better service to car users across the UAE and greater MENA region,” explained Fadi Medlej, Managing Director of MENA for Axalta. “Our coatings and application systems combine to offer increasingly environmentally responsible coating solutions which can help meet sustainability goals across the region, an increasingly important pillar of regional governments’ development policies.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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