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GCC Car Modifications Conferen

Mohamed Sheta at GCC Car Modifications Conference in Dubai: Safe car tuning is closely linked to Road Safety and Motorsport !

The importance of education and raising media & public awareness about safe car tuning, the direct link and influence of safe car tuning and safe car modifications on the road safety situation and motorsport development in the UAE and the GCC, those were the main points in the presentation of automotive & road safety expert Mohamed Sheta at the 2014 GCC Car Modifications Conference, held at the Meydan Hotel Dubai on 24th and 25th of November.

The GCC Car Modification conference was a big success with many international delegates from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, USA and Australia attending this two-days event, in addition to many decision-makers and key-players in the tuning business, such as Prof. Dr. Bodo Buschmann, Founder and Chairman of the biggest independent Mercedes tuning company, BRABUS, as well as Mr. Harald Schmidtke, President of the Association of German Car Tuners (VDAT).

Besides the official signing ceremony of the MoU between the Emirates Authority For Standardization & Metrology (ESMA) and the Automobile and Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates (ATC – UAE) for technical co-operation in car modifications, and which was signed by Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem (Chairman of the Emirates Motor Sports Federation and President of the Automobile and Touring Club of UAE) and H.E. Abdulla Al Maeeni (Acting Director General of the Emirates Standardisation and Metrology Authority ESMA), the delegates were also very interested in the presentation of Mrs. Farah Al Zarooni, Director of the Standards Department at ESMA, which was about the Draft Project of UAE Technical Regulations for Vehicle Modifications, and which is supposed to be implemented in the UAE sometime during 2015.

Most of the delegates we spoke to were also very pleased and entertained by how Auto Arabia Editor-In-Chief & Publisher Mohamed Sheta chaired the different sessions and moderated the different panel discussion, especially since his outstanding 22-years expertise in the automotive & modifications field in addition to his diplomatic and witty moderation skills resulted in a very smooth and informative discussions between the speakers, panel guests and the conference delegates throughout the two days of the conference.

The fact that Mohamed Sheta speaks Arabic, German, English and French fluently was another key for the success of the GCC Car Modification Conference, as this helped very much in explaining misunderstandings and building bridges between the speakers and the delegates, both during as well as outside the conference sessions and panel discussions, as expressed to us from many conference delegates and conference sponsors.

In his own presentation on the second conference day Mohamed Sheta put a focus on how safe car modifications & safe car tuning are directly linked to an improved road safety situation and a better motorsport industry in the UAE and the GCC region.

Sheta also explained that In the Middle East we do not have the same automotive and motorsport culture we find in Europe for example. So, it is no surprise that also the awareness about safe tuning and safe modification still has lots of room for improvement.

Furthermore he indicated that if there is no awareness about safe modifications and tuning in the Middle East, this would automatically lead to no profound awareness about entry-level motorsport or other motorsport series such as the DTM, the Porsche Cup or even the Formula 1.

Mohamed Sheta continued his presentation and described that the main points in his presentation would be the following:

- How the specialized motoring media in Germany helped in raising the awareness and promoted safer modifications.
- What the specialized motoring media in the Middle East must do to raise awareness and promote safer modifications in the GCC and Middle East region
- How safer modification will automatically raise the level of road safety in the GCC and the Middle East
- How the stakeholders (e.g. racing circuits, ministries, tuning companies, tire companies, oil companies, etc.) should cooperate with the media in order to achieve the common goal of a better road safety level and a safer environment for modifying cars.
- The importance of conducting independent and unbiased tests of modification and tuning parts through the specialized motoring media, in order to advise consumers about the best parts in the markets, and which parts to stay away from.

It is no secret that automotive and road safety expert Mohamed Sheta has been very critical in his recent radio and television interviews about the unprofessional so-called ‘automotive’ TV shows, radio shows, weekly newspaper supplement, monthly magazines and website as most of them are presented and published by inexperienced presenters or incompetent crime-scene reporters and advertising reps and thus do not increase awareness about road safety and automotive understanding.

Some of those TV programs and automotive supplements are full of mistakes and even encourage viewers or readers to reckless driving, like the TV program Doos Banzine on Mehwar TV, the Aksa Sur3a TV program on Al Oula TV, the Turbo radio program on Nile FM 104.2, Aksa Sur3a radio show on Shabab & Reyada 108.0 FM and last but not least the weekly Al Ahram ‘automotive’ advertising supplement.

Of course there are many more weekly so-called ‘automotive’ newspaper supplements, monthly magazine and websites which should be listed here, but that would take too much space of this article. We will discuss those unprofessional media and also analyze the new so-called ‘Automotive PR Journalism’ and the main ‘Automotive PR Journalists’ (e.g. El Tawkeel website, El Tahrir newspaper, Akhbar El Youm newspaper) as well as the automotive brands in Egypt and the Middle East, who are supporting such misleading ‘media’ in a separate and comprehensive article very soon.

Back to the GCC Car Modifications Conference, the conference was a unique platform for regulators, standardization authorities and key industry players, such as BRABUS and the VDAT, to discuss the way forward for the car modifications market in the GCC and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa region.

Demand for car customisation in the region has increased by around 15 per cent in the past year, according to industry sources. The multimillion dollar automobiles aftermarket and customisation sector is keenly looking at the high potential Middle East market, whose automobile passion is driven by speed, style and performance.

In the GCC, the UAE is an emerging regional hub for car modifications and customisation. With aftermarket dealers set to rise, it is imperative that clarity is given on the permissible level of modifications and keeping these in line with government regulations.

Realising the need for a platform to discuss crucial issues to car customisation and modifications, Messe Frankfurt therefore launched the first GCC Car Modifications Conference from 24 – 25 November 2014 in Dubai, UAE. This conference provided room for thoughts and provoking debates, unflinching presentations and several hours of networking in order to enhance knowledge and share experiences on the subject.

The event looked at the regulations in place from the relevant governing bodies, safety considerations to be kept in mind, amongst other important issues such as certification, code of practice and testing.

During the next few days we will update this article and publish some of the speaker’s presentation during the conference as soon as they are available for publication.

Last but not least, we were a little bit surprised that some of the popular Dubai-based automotive websites in the Middle East were not really happy with the approach of the UAE regulation bodies such as the ESMA, to regulate the way cars should be modified and the way workshops should be monitored and certified, in order to enhance safer car modifications and better road safety conditions on the streets of the UAE and the GCC.

World-renowned Mercedes tuning company BRABUS was Platinum Sponsor of this highly successful conference.

Dubai – Cairo - Berlin

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