I will publish some write-ups over the next few days on my blog which are non-football related but part of my experiences while in Qatar for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.
The first-ever Qatar Motorshow was held from January 26 to 29, 2011 at the Doha Exhibition Centre with major international car makers taking part in the show with enthusiastic locals flocking to the exhibition to have a look at the numerous cars on display.
Alongside the Motorshow the first Middle East Automotive Summit was held to discuss and debate the future of mobility and the transformation of the automotive industry with a focus on intelligent transport systems, urban infrastructure planning, meeting mobility demands and evolvement in the future and what this all means to the Middle East. And the summit was only a starting point for all the above topics.
The biggest exhibitor at the Motorshow was the Volkswagen Group with its brands VW, Audi, Skoda, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley all represented. Besides the growing importance of the market in the Middle Eastern to the VW Group, its third biggest shareholder also happens to be the state of Qatar with a holding of 17 percent.
“Compared to other markets our share in the Gulf is low, so we are using the Qatar Motorshow to push for a bigger market share here,” said Martin Winterkorn, the Volkswagen Chairman of the Board Management, who had come down for the Motorshow.
Numerous car makers made regional launches of new cars and updated models, but unlike in other parts of the world the focus was on big, gas consuming vehicles while elsewhere the main topics at such exhibitions is often on ecology and the reduction of fuel consumption, but here it was about horse power and speed.
And then there are the Arabian curiosities like the 24 carat gold ‘enhanced’ VW Touareg, the VW Touareg Dakar rally car, the Porsche Panamera 4S Exclusive Middle East edition and the Mercedes G55 AMG Arabia. All the above mentioned cars are costly, but potential status symbols for wealthy people across the Arabian peninsula.