All eyes on premium Qatar motor show

January 28, 2013 - 2:19:34 am

DOHA: This year’s edition of the high-end luxury car show opens here tomorrow amidst concerns about pricy spare parts, difficult-to-access after-sales service and rising inflation.

As premium car enthusiasts here say they are eagerly looking forward to the unveiling of what is tipped as the Arab world’s first elite sports car priced at a mind-boggling $3.4m (QR12.41m), the exhibitors maintain their aim of taking part in the 2013 Qatar Motor Show is not to sell.

“We know that huge numbers of people come to the event just to see the cars on display, but that’s what we want because we are here to introduce our latest models,” an official from a luxury car dealer told this newspaper, asking not to be named.

Inflation has been rising worldwide and it hasn’t spared the global luxury car market as well, but the demand for high-end premium cars went up globally last year.

An auto industry insider said he estimated that generally car prices have soared nearly 10 percent since a year earlier. But the official, who said more visitors come to the show just to see the cars, disputed that claim.

“Take the example of our brands. Their prices have gone up just nominally — about one to two percent over early last year.”

He claimed the makers of the prestigious brand he sells here sold 141,000 cars worldwide in 2012. “That was 18 percent growth over the previous year.”  The official, though, evaded repeated queries about the number of cars they sold in Qatar.

When told that the accessories of premium cars, especially those from Europe, are very expensive and hardly available in the local market, the official said not only that these cars carry warranties, but most of their spare parts also have warranty.

And the warranty period can be extended provided the owner is willing to cough up extra and his car passes a series of difficult technical checks, the official hinted.

“Our cars need servicing after 10 to 15,000 kilometers, but there are others that must be serviced after a 5,000km run.” The official added: “You must remember that premium car owners are different. They are elite and the way they use these cars is different”.

“Events like the Qatar Motor Show provide us a chance to interact with the people directly. Last year, many Middle East visitors told us they wanted our cars with internal décor done in the red colour — so we have fulfilled that demand.”

Some carmakers bring their engineers, designers and technicians directly from their manufacturing plants so they can interact with the people, explain the nature of their work and get valuable inputs from the visitors, another auto industry insider said.

The Qatari market, according to him, prefers full-option cars. As for premium car enthusiasts from other GCC states, the insider said they visit the exhibition but when it comes to buying, they prefer their own countries, especially as the UAE and Saudi Arabia are huge auto markets.

the Peninsula