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From bad to worse: Egyptian Road Safety and Egyptian Motorsport have lots of room for improvement!

A couple of days ago the FIA president Jean Todt paid a visit to Egypt to see how the road safety and motorsport situation developed in Egypt over the past two years, since his last visit to Cairo.

Needless to say, he was not ‘amused’ by the unprofessional motorsport activities and the horrific road safety situation in Egypt, and according to media reports he responded in a very diplomatic way by saying that ‘there is still lots of room for improvement and a lot needs to be done.’

And although many renowned multinational companies such as SHELL, Pirelli and Vodafone have invested significant budgets in various road safety-related media campaigns or activities, it seems that those media campaigns and activities were not very efficient when we see the shocking numbers of road crashes and fatalities over the past couple of years.

Two of the main reasons for the ineffectiveness of those media campaigns and activities are (among others) the irrelevance and incompetence of the media outlets used in those campaigns as well as the ignorance and lack of automotive and road safety expertise of the PR agencies of those companies, who have no clue about the automotive topics in general and the road safety topics in specific.

For example, the presenter of the Pirelli radio show on Mega 92.7 FM has no idea about the safety features of tires or cars in general, and in addition to that the so-called ‘experts’ he has as studio guest in his show keep on spreading wrong information to the listeners and road users.

Another example are the lousy and extremely unprofessional TV shows on both the public and private TV channels in Egypt. One of those two lousy TV shows is a show called Doos Banzine on Mehwar TV, a privately-owned TV channel belonging to the Egyptian business-man Hassan Rateb. In this extremely unprofessional TV show a presenter called Tamer Bashir also keeps on spreading wrong and inaccurate information about car related specifications as well as about road safety topics. Claiming to be a professional racing driver although he never participated in a professional car race shows you the credibility and professionalism of this TV show and its presenter.

The weekly automotive ‘advertising’ supplement distributed every Friday and Saturday are no different, as they are full of misleading advertorials with the aim of dragging the readers to buy the advertised car models, which in 99% of the cases of those advertorials lack the minimum of active and passive features. This also applies to all ‘monthly’ automotive magazines in Egypt which appear once or twice a year around the Automech Formula Motor Show or every 3-4 months (depending on the advertisements), and which we also find full of those misleading and paid advertorials.

The few Arabic websites which claim that they are ‘automotive’ websites feature the same problems like the weekly newspaper supplements and ‘monthly’ magazines. Not only are they full of copy-paste press releases and advertorials, but some of those ‘automotive websites’ even do the PR work and write the press releases for some car companies.

This new trend of ‘writing the PR articles’ for automotive companies became so popular, that even one Egyptian car magazine which claims that they are ‘one of the most professional car magazines not only in Egypt but also in the Middle East’, started writing the PR articles for a car companies as well, in this case for MINI. Needless to say how this will ‘raise’ the credibility of the MINI brand as well as credibility and reputation of this magazine.

And when another car magazine is at the same time the publisher of the official BMW Egypt Magazine, then rest assured that you will not read anything critical about any MINI or BMW in those publications, especially when it is a safety-related recall such as the recent airbag and braking-system recall for the various MINI and BMW models.

Not to mention the fact that the marketing manager of BMW Egypt, Mr. Abdel Kodouss, appeared on a lousy radio show with one of the most disgusting and most misleading advertising sales representatives of Al Ahram Automotive Advertising Supplement on the same Thursday when the 2015 Automech Formula Motor Show started, in order to promote the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer in a very lame, unexpected and needless way.

I really wonder how BMW and MINI in Egypt will regain their credibility after those drawbacks which will only make the competitors benefit from this lack of professionalism and credibility, and especially since Mercedes Benz already dominated the recent 2015 World Car Awards against BMW. And it seems that BMW will also not be shining at the upcoming 2015 International Engine of the Year Award, like it used to do in the past.

In any case, we will have a series of articles coming up soon here on in which we will discuss and analyze this unprofessional conduct of some companies and their PR agencies as well as the misconduct and wrongdoing of some of the so-called ‘automotive’ media in the Egyptian market.

This unique ‘phenomena’ in the Egyptian automotive media sector will also be part of my presentation during the international Road Safety Egypt Conference next week (05.05. – 06.05.2015), in which I will also to talk about the implementation of laws on imports to encourage the inclusion of a wide roster of safety features on new cars, making the public aware of passive and active safety features on new cars and, last but not least, the role of the media in shaping attitudes to road safety.

Stay tuned till next week.

Cairo – Dubai - Berlin

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