CAIRO: In seven halls, where the roar of car engines is effortlessly surpassed by the buzz of visitors, it s easy to mistake the show as a mere publicity vehicle for automobile companies.
But it s not.
The Automech Akhbar El Youm 2007 is a place where deals are sealed.
There are over 300 exhibitors and 400,000 visitors are expected – about 18,000 more visitors than last year s exhibition, according to Medhat Ramadan, public relations and promotional manager at ACG-ITF.
“There are vehicles for all economic categories, he added. There are cars starting at LE 30,000 and others sold for over LE 2 million. The former category is mainly dominated by Chinese automakers.
Participating automobile companies use the exhibition as an extension of their showrooms, said Mohamed Sheta, managing editor of the pan-Arab Auto Arabia magazine.
“Visitors would pass by to check out the cars, sleep on it for a couple of days and return to make the purchase, Sheta added.
The companies, he explained, make attractive offers. That s why there are booths for banks in almost all the halls, providing buyers with the means to pay for the cars in installments.
Dismayed by this fact, which he said is the trend of auto exhibitions in the country, Sheta hoped the companies would take the opportunity to build on their image in the market.
But what can they do?
Put more cars models on display, especially those not available in Egypt, suggests Sheta.
Fortunately for him and other avid car fans, a number of companies did exactly that.
The Audi R8 and S5 made their first appearance in Egypt through this year s exhibition. Fascinated visitors were taking their pictures beside the attractive sports cars. The same happened with the Ford Mustang, Lincoln Navigator, Porche, Ferrari F430 and Jaguar XK.
Speranza, a Chinese vehicle, is also showcasing new models, slated for future release in the market.
Actually this year s [exhibition] is the best ever in Egypt, Sheta said.
But the fact remains that companies are there to sell. Both exhibitors and organizers are bending over backwards to attract visitors. At one point, a man dressed in a silver alien suit was not just turning heads at Hyundai’s already-lavish display area, but a photo attraction for some excited visitors.
Both Renualt and Ferrari put their Formula One racing cars on display, albeit the latter did so for a brief period.
In one hallway visitors lined up to participate in the Exxon Mobil videogame contest. Participants get to use a racing-car simulator, where they drive through the on-screen track while seated in racing car mock-ups. Winners will attend the Bahrain Formula 1 car race.
In another red-colored hallway, visitors get to watch short clips of racing cars in action on several screens built into the walls.
And aside from the lavish setting and decorations, trade-to-trade transactions are taking place backstage. This exhibition is two-fold, Ramadan explained, One is business-to-business and the other is business-to-consumer.
This is the only exhibition in Egypt, he added, in which different automobile traders meet each other to discuss potential deals. Throughout a three-month campaign, organizers have been signing on participants from Arab countries to trade in car accessories and spare parts with their Egyptian counterparts.
The goal, he said, is to make this exhibition a regional attraction, not just an Egyptian one.
Automech ends on June 11.