23 - Jul - 2016
The UAE is a business hub and safe haven for global investors. As far as growth is concerned, being based in the City of Wonders, our main focus areas are the Middle East, Africa and CIS countries. Expansion plans are always on the cards for us. We have recently launched a Dhs25 million project in Jebel Ali Free Zone. Our new warehouse and office facilities which are currently under construction, will be completed by January 2017. This was stated by Asad Abbas Badami, Managing Director, Al Muqarram Auto Spare Parts Trading (A-MAP), during an exclusive interview with Inayat-ur-Rahmanof The Gulf Today, adding that hosting Expo 2020 would add jewels to the country’s crown. Here is the full interview Q: How is the local and global market for car batteries and spare parts going to be like this year, in view of the slower global growth predicted? A: It is worth stating that in general a slower growth rate is being predicted and the industry is downbeat about the current global economic scenario. As far as spare parts and car batteries are concerned, it never loses its shine. Auto parts are much-needed products of daily usage similar to food being a daily necessity. From an industrial point of view, the auto parts and car batteries sector is very secure and lucrative, where demand and business growth are always very reliable and consistent. The automotive sector tends to shift internally, hence due to the economic crisis, new car productions and their global sales growth are affected to some extent. Keeping in mind the importance of spare parts and car batteries, its demand still exists and is on a solid growth trajectory. Driving vehicles on the roads is the daily requirement of end-users. People are still purchasing vehicles regardless of the global economic crunch. In this region the major upcoming markets such as India and Africa are still reflecting rapid growth, where more and more people are purchasing cars, which ultimately increases the demand and importance of spare parts and car batteries. Q. Where do you see the growth potential moving forward? A: The UAE is a business hub and safe haven for global investors. As far as growth is concerned, being based in the City of Wonders, our main focus areas are the Middle East, Africa and CIS countries. These are markets which are not saturated by any means. They have huge potential for growth and are not untapped markets. Many people from rural areas are moving towards mainstream places. People are keen to buy cars, creating more demand and room for spare parts and car batteries. Our region is one of the most vibrant regions in the world having an immense growth potential. Q: What is your view on the global market and how the oil price is related to your distribution planning? A: The fluctuation in global oil prices has not only affected the automotive sector but has also affected the mood, mentality and psychological approach of the business world. The lower oil prices have put a negative impact on the currencies of different countries and have also affected the economies of the oil-dependent and natural resources producing Third World countries and Africa to a great extent. It is not necessary to create a hype in the market as all these developments are temporary. The global economies have already witnessed oil prices hovering below $30 and also hitting above $150 almost few years back, but still at that time the business morale was quite high. I am optimistic that the global economy will avoid recession and be back on track soon. Q: How is Al Muqarram Auto Spare parts LLC different from others? Many LLC shops do the distribution as well? A: Our Company has a different and unique business approach which differentiates us from others. We don’t consider ourselves as a trading company but rather as manufacturers’ representative organisations as well. We work on a direct distribution model. We have allocated distributors in around 40 different countries across the globe and we supply products directly to them. We are always active in the market. Our company participates in various local and global exhibitions in order to drum up support of our products. We are providing 360-degree services to our customers. Our company is the only trading organisation in the region having our own state-of-the-art Quality Control Center. We are associated with big names in the UAE such as Enoc - Autopro, Emarat – Fasttrack, Al Serkal, DP World, Sharjah Municipality, which has added more flavour and credibility to our company’s strength in the region. Q: What is your current market share in the \Middle East & Africa and how to do you plan to increase or sustain it? A: We are a market leader in terms of battery sales with around 40 per cent of market share in the UAE. We distribute around 300,000 batteries annually out of 800,000 battery market size in the UAE. Saudi Arabia is a major market for us in the GCC region. We recently started our own distribution facility in Qatar and Russia. Our company also exports various kinds of automobile spare parts to many African countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and Nigeria. We have been able to build a loyal and satisfied clientele in Africa due to the high quality and competitive prices of our goods. Q: The auto spare parts and battery market is very competitive with so many new brands penetrating in the market? How are you competing with your competitors? A: Ready availability of goods backed by a reliable and efficient distribution network has further helped our company penetrate the emerging markets around the world. Q: According to you what are the key components of the batteries that everyone should know of? A: Batteries play a key role in the automobile sector. We can drive vehicles to some extent if a tyre runs flat or the brakes are weak, but we can’t move a car if the battery is dead, it is the lifeline of a vehicle. The key component in a battery, which everyone should understand, is that it doesn’t have an absolute life. The lifespan of a battery increases upon regular usage contrary to other products in the vehicles and driving habits and exposure to extreme elements can shorten the life of a battery. Q: Are you planning any expansion globally or in the UAE? Any investment plans? A: Yes, we are keen to further expand our global footprint. Over and above expanding the facilities in Jebel Ali Free Zone, we have recently entered Qatar and Russian markets with our own distribution facilities. We are also targeting to tap into some African markets in order to build a loyal and satisfied clientele there. Q: Any new product launches? A: Last year we signed a deal with an Indonesian firm and got distribution rights of Achilles Tyres. We are also in a partnership deal with Asimco, one of the leading players in auto spare parts in the global automotive aftermarket. We at A-MAP are working closely with Asimco to build on its market leadership with an iconic product range and are planning to launch new products under Asimco’s umbrella in the near future. Q: How optimistic are you about the rest of the year? A: The first-half of the year has been challenging due to lower commodity prices and fluctuation in global currencies. I am optimistic that the economy, which is currently in the doldrums, would buck the global trend. I expect stability in the upcoming two quarters of the year. Q: The UAE is heading towards Expo 2020. How upbeat are you that it will further strengthen the country’s economic growth? A: We should commend our visionary leaders for achieving this milestone. Winning Expo 2020 is one of the greatest achievements of the UAE. I believe that the UAE is the right platform to communicate the world’s most brilliant ideas, bringing the global community together to learn, share and grow, while introducing significant new technologies and innovations. With major international airports, Dubai is represented as an airport city with an urban layout infrastructure and economy centered on its airports. Hosting Expo 2020 will be beneficial for many sectors such as airports and transportation, road infrastructure, logistics, business centers, free zone areas, banking, hospitality, retail and more. Moreover, the employment opportunities generated should increase in the travel and tourism sector, indicating significant potential for permanent roles to serve the expanded economy. Q: How are Solite & Asimco different from other brands of the same origin? A: Solite is a Korean product and a highly reliable automotive battery that satisfies the car lovers all over the world under any circumstance. The internal rust-free calcium metal exhibits the excellent heat resistibility and the strong immunity against drastic temperamental change. It comes as an OEM product of Kia & Hyundai which therefore adds credibility to its performance. Asimco has set very high standards with its product portfolio and is presence in various markets across the globe. Its product portfolio has been reinforced to build on its strong reputation in the sector worldwide, amidst a surging demand for world-class products.
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