Electrification the focus as the Geneva International Motor Show held in Qatar for the first time
The Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) took place in Doha, Qatar this year – the first time in the event’s history that it has been held outside of its native Switzerland. It ran from 5 – 14 October.
The showcase featured 30 global automotive brands, with exhibits including the most recent models, concept cars, and innovation. Both luxury and mass market car makers were present, ready to embrace the Middle East automotive market.
The Gulf Cooperation Council nations, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, reported registrations last year. In fact, vehicle sales are in line with number of cars registered in Germany for the same period (2.65 million), highlighting the region’s significance.
In 2021, GIMS organizers agreed for the event to be held in Qatar every other year for the next decade. Many car makers hope that the move could help introduce new vehicles to the growing market in the region and were keen to exhibit at the event.
Toyota displayed a special edition of its Land Cruiser, which is one of, if not the best-selling vehicle in Qatar. This version, named the ‘10th Victory Edition’ is based on the GR Sport edition, with some special extras and the same 3.5 V6 Twin Turbo engine with a 10 speed Automatic Transmission.
Volkswagen Group, in which the Qatari Investment Authority holds around a 10% stake, provided a regional reveal of three of its Volkswagen SUVs. The main attention was given to the larger Terramont (or Atlas as it’s known in the US) followed by the Tiguan and Touareg.
As is becoming the norm, Chinese manufacturers also occupied a big proportion of the floor space. Geely’s Lynk&Co staged a glitzy regional launch, and Chery had a large presence with its Chery, Exeed and Jaecoo brands.
The use of electric vehicles (EVs) has been growing in the Middle East. However, while projections suggest that electrification will become more prominent in coming years, there is some hesitancy. Key figures in the region hold that energy source diversity remain important because of varying resource and infrastructure availability.
GIMS has been a hub for the launch of electric vehicles for some years now, and this year was no different. Many car makers, including Toyota, Lexus, Exceed, KIA, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Lucid, Tetwo, BMW, Mini, and Mclaren, displayed their vehicles.
The introduction of an all-electric range by Mercedes-Benz AG’s distributor in Qatar, marks a turning point in the Gulf state’s transition to sustainable mobility.
Chinese car manufacturer Chery unveiled two hybrid cars, the Tiggo 7 Pro Hybrid and Tiggo 8 Pro Hybrid. Omoda, part of the Chery Automotive group, showcased the C5 EV electric SUV for the first time in the East region.
Vietnam’s electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast officially introduced its fully electric models to the region, showcasing four models, the VF6, VF7, VF8 and VF9. These models cater to both mass and premium segments, and appearing at the show was a strategic move to attract partners and investors from the Middle East.
Notably, Lucid displayed their range for the first time since opening their manufacturing facility just outside of Jeddah, KSA. The Saudi public investment fund owns 60% of the Californian Headquartered EV manufacturer, and the Saudi Government have already ordered 100,000 units for delivery over the next ten years.
However, some market leaders – including Tesla and BYD – were absent at this year’s event. It will be interesting to see who appears at the 2024 show when it returns to Switzerland.
Overall, the Geneva Motor Show brand drew in major players in the industry, as well as attention to the aspirations and progress being made in the Middle East automotive industry. The event showcased electrification, while also catering to car enthusiasts and the public with the interconnecting activations, experiences and F1.
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