Thursday,21 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1363, (5 - 11 October 2017)
Thursday,21 February, 2019
Issue 1363, (5 - 11 October 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Good enough?

It wasn’t the ideal auto show but it was a necessity, reports Mohamed Abdel-Razek

Mercedes-Benz GTS Brabus at Automech

Like every year, Egypt’s only auto show, Automech Formula, was supposed to open in March but this time it struggled to get the engine running. The fall of car sales since the start of 2017 impacted customers who could no longer afford already overpriced new cars and who moved to the used cars market, and on the other bank of the river, car dealers who were not interested in spending their money on marketing and advertising. Stocks was already low, and frankly, they wanted to make sure to sell the remaining cars at the highest prices possible. Both customers and car dealers, just like the currency and economy, were stunned and unsettled.


Time was needed for the economy to get back on track and for dealers and customers to exit the foggy road. Last month was the second attempt for the auto show to try to lead the automotive business in Egypt out of the dark tunnel. With so much effort, the 2017 Automech Formula was the 22nd edition since 1994, taking place in Cairo’s International Convention and Exhibition Centre from 20 to 23 September. Twenty-four manufacturers were enough to get the show running, but was it at international standards? Automech came this year at the worst time ever, nearly the same time as the IAA, the Frankfurt Auto Show, one of the world’s biggest and most renowned where more than 50 manufacturers from all over the world gather to unveil their new models, turning the heads of the whole world towards Frankfurt from 14 to 24 September.

So what was the main goal of Automech? Surely not to bring the eyes of the automotive world to Cairo. Nothing from what we saw indicated such an attempt. The only possible reason that fired up the show was to encourage both dealers and customers to get the wheel rolling once again in the domestic market. Many participating dealers had already announced discounts and reductions during the show, which encouraged visitors and those seeking new cars at reasonable prices.

Usually in auto shows, companies try to compete by keeping their displays as attractive as possible to attract more fans and customers. But this was not easily found in Automech this year; by international standards, it didn’t exist. Nissan displayed the iconic GTR, Godzilla. The car attracted the crowd non-stop, but knowing that the same car showed up several times in Automech in the past years and that the car itself had been launched by Nissan back in 2007, it wasn’t that impressive for someone used to seeing hyper cars quite often. For a starving Egyptian motorhead, though, it was dazzling.

Mercedes-Benz returned to the Egyptian market with a huge force backed by the full support of the government. The German giants displayed some interesting lines which attracted many fans as well as customers. For the first time came the GLC, a whole new model in the Egyptian market playing in the medium SUV category. Mercedes also displayed some beautiful cars -- the C-Class Coupe, the C-Class convertible and the E-Class AMG package.

BMW had the all-new 5 series model with very special prices and options, including the 520i Luxury which came with a decent package of options and a more powerful engine (170hp and 250 pft) than the new E200 (135hp and 300 pft), with a very competitive price of LE1.2 million. That’s why serious buyers rather than fans were attracted more to the BMW pavilion.

Toyota had a nice display with lots of effort put into it, with all the ranges that suit different budgets and lifestyles. The focus was on the all new Fortuner which is assembled locally in Egypt at AAV plants (Arab American Vehicle). The car comes with a very competitive price compared to multi-purpose SUVs in Egypt, but what mainly concerned customers who came to check out the car was its quality and options. They did not worry much about the engine’s capabilities or comfortability of the ride, which is always guaranteed by the Japanese manufacturer.

There were surprises, thankfully good ones. Before finishing the tour, a reward was awaiting. Two unexpected participants this year made a big impact with their products. One was the Brabus display area by MECC. Karim Al-Badri, managing director of Brabus in Egypt, had brought the iconic brand specialised in tuning and upgrading Mercedes-Benz vehicles to the country a couple of years ago. “Now we are giving everything to start linking the Egyptian customers to the brand,” Al-Badri said. The display was stunning with cars like the Mercedes GTS Brabus, the S-Class Brabus, the C-Class and the A-Class. “We made sure to put different ranges of the Mercedes lines,” added Al-Badri. The aim of showing different ranges was to prove to interested customers that Brabus could make any modern Mercedes model look, perform and sound magnificent. The idea of tuning or upgrading your Mercedes at Brabus or at any professional tuning company is meant for people who like to feel unique and like to pamper their beloved vehicles with accessories and toys every now and then rather than sell them.

Part of Junkyart display at Automech

Another interesting display was Junkyart, founded by classic car collector and art designer Elhami Ezzat. The display was on a small scale but it would take you a whole day to check out all the interesting products which were all made out of car parts used to make home decorations and furniture.

With a couple of barrels, Ezzat created a very comfortable sitting area for a motorhead to spend his time. An old Volkswagen Beetle boot turned into a nice corner with a wooden shelf for home. He even made a wall clock out of brake discs. Many other car parts turned into masterpieces that could be displayed at home, all made in Egypt. “This kind of art is available abroad in different places, but when I compared the quality of our work here in Egypt, I found we are doing even better,” Ezzat said. “We sold a lot of products this year at Automech,” Ezzat added.

Great move to see Automech on the road this year. Hoping next year to see an international level auto show flying down the road in Egypt.

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