All photos by Chantelle d’Mello
The 2015 Qatar International Motor Show opens today with the debut of the latest auto manufacturer to come to the country.
Chinese automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. is displaying its entry level and mid-market vehicles alongside the dozens of SUVs, luxury sedans and high-performance sports cars parked inside the Qatar National Convention Center.
Better known by its acronym GAC, the company plans to open its first Qatar showroom on Salwa Road – opposite HSBC near Decoration Roundabout – by April.
Its first three vehicles to come to Qatar are under GAC’s Trumpchi brand and include the GA3, GA5 and GS5. Expected to compete against the likes of the Mitsubishi Lancer, Honda Accord and Honda CRV, the vehicles carry sticker prices of between QR47,000 to QR75,000.
GAC sold some 1,000 vehicles in Kuwait and the UAE after launching sales in those countries last year, said Andrew Parrott, the head of GAC sales and marketing at business conglomerate Domasco, which also operates Qatar’s Honda and Volvo showrooms
“We anticipate that the cars will do very well as fleet cars (for rental companies), and as affordable cars for families and individuals here,” Parrott told Doha News.
“Contrary to popular belief, the two most popular segments of cars here are sedans and small SUVs, and we think that GAC is primed to enter and cater to this market,” he added.
Others, however, have a different take on local consumer preferences.
Over at the Toyota booth, MENA representative Takayuki Yoshitsugu said large SUVs – namely his company’s Land Cruiser and the Nissan Patrol – dominate Qatar’s auto market.
The competing Japanese vehicle manufacturers are among the 35 automakers represented at the show.
Spread out over 15,000 square meters, other brands includes high-end models from the likes of Lamborghini, Bugatti, Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Nimrod.
Motorcycle manufacturers Harley Davidson and MV Agusta are also at the show.
New this year are several gimmicks, including a vending machine that dispenses free gifts in exchange for Instagram posts with the Mercedes-Benz hashtag as well as a competitive video game racing pod.
The show is free and open to the public from 1pm to 10pm on the weekend, and from 4pm to 10 pm from Feb. 8-10.
Interested attendees are requested to register online.
Do you plan to go the show? Thoughts?