Sulayem marks opening of Commercial Vehicles Middle East with challenge to make new models as long lasting as predecessors

Published March 9th, 2010 - 09:46 GMT

Mohammed Ben Sulayem marked the official opening of the Middle East’s new showcase event for the commercial vehicles industry in Dubai today by urging manufacturers to keep safety and the environment as major priorities as they plan their recovery from the economic downturn.

Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE and a highly respected figure in automotive circles, also called on the leading commercial vehicle brands to prove that new models being launched today can be as reliable and long lasting as their predecessors.

Speaking on the opening day of Commercial Vehicles Middle East, the new three-day exhibition and conference in Dubai, the FIA Vice President said: “I’m happy to see something positive happening, as it’s been a tough time for the motor industry as a whole.

“The good news today is that the commercial vehicles industry in the region has a new focal point in Dubai. It’s great to see so many big names supporting this event, supporting each other, making a stand, sending a message that they’re here to stay, and that better times are ahead.”

Added Sulayem: “At the ATCUAE we’re concerned with vehicle safety, and with the
effects on the environment from emissions. I hope to see that the new models on show this week reflect that the manufacturers are just as concerned as we are.”

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The event was officially opened by Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police. Essa Abdulrahman Al Dossari, CEO, Public Transport Agency, RTA delivered the opening address at the conference.

The introduction of the new three-day event has been well received by manufacturers, with brands like Nissan, Renault, Hino and Foton among those unveiling new models this week inside Sheikh Saeed Halls 2 & 3 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

At Sulayem’s suggestion, event organisers Streamline Marketing Group invited Sharjah Old Cars Club and Museum to put on a display of classic commercial vehicles dating back to the 1940s.

“They’re a reminder that commercial vehicles are part of the history of the UAE and the  Middle East as a whole,” said Sulayem. “Some say they’re not made like this any more, that today’s vehicles don’t last as long.

“It’s up to the manufacturers to prove them wrong. I hope they do, and that years from now vehicles being launched this week will be part of another classic collection, at a much bigger event. This is just the start, but it’s a good one.”

As the industry recovers from the effects of the global downturn, regional and international commercial vehicles suppliers, and local government departments and transport agencies are confident that the industry will see more growth in 2010 and beyond.

Mustansir Lakdawala, Managing Director of Renault GCC said: “The commercial vehicles sector is becoming competitive as fleet managers, small and medium sized businesses and traders are looking for vehicles that offer more versatility, durability and value for money.

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“This sector is extremely important for Renault GCC and our two new Logan Pick-up and Van models are ideal for those looking for the perfect balance.  As the region’s only specialised event for commercial vehicles, we feel this is an ideal platform for Renault to launch and showcase its new light commercial vehicles line-up.”

Supported by UAE government departments including the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai, Dubai Municipality and Emirates Transport, the opening day of the event’s two-day conference, running alongside the exhibition, included sessions focusing on “Fleet and Safety on the Road” and “Managing the Environmental Impact of Fleets.”

Both themes were of special significance for Sulayem and the ATCUAE which is the official representative in the Emirates of the FIA, the organisation representing motoring organisations worldwide and a long-time driver of initiatives on vehicle safety and environment protection.

Among the speakers on the opening day of the conference were Dr. Mohamed El Sadig, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, UAE University, Yousif Al Ali, Director of Operations, Dubai Taxi Company, Dr. Ameen El Sinawi, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, American University of Sharjah, and Ahmed Al Mulla, Manager (Lubricants), EPPCO.

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