Algeria, is pitching itself as the most important automotive market in North Africa. There are only 3.5 million vehicles being used by the country’s 34 million-strong population. But this number is growing by six per cent annually. And the spare-parts market in Algeria is estimated to be worth around 200 million Euros annually – most of this market is made up of imports. The Algerian government has identified the auto sector as an important one and is trying to attract foreign investment into the industry.

So it comes as no surprise that auto shows are fairly successful in the country. Equip Auto 2008 will be held between 31st March to 3rd April 2008. It will be third Equip Auto Algeria to be held. The second was held in April 207 and had nearly 5000 visitors. Equip Auto Algeria is an exhibition aimed at the after-market, garage supplies and spare parts markets. This is a growth area in Algeria especially since 2005, it is compulsory for vehicles in the country to undergo compulsory roadworthiness tests. The Algerian Ministry of Transport is responsible for these tests which are managed by the Algerian Roadworthiness Test Establishment. In 2006, there were 126 test centers in Algeria.

Equip Auto Algeria 2007 saw exhibitors who were mainly working in the aftermarket industry (especially in distribution and maintenance), with their suppliers, importers and equipment manufacturers. “After its first edition showing strong potential, Equip Auto Algeria is now consolidating its status as North African leader in spare parts and garage supplies. Leading exhibitors for a top-quality show 39 major importers – distributors of spare parts and garage supplies for light and heavy vehicles in Algeria – exhibited at Equip Auto Algeria in 2007, providing a diverse, top quality offering,” say the show’s organizers.

In Equip Auto Algeria 2007, many leading international equipment manufacturers exhibited at the show. These included 51 French firms, 11 of which were members of the French Automotive Equipment Industries Association and 22 from the French Federation of Industrial Bodybuilders. Plus there was a pavilion organized by UBI France gave several small and medium enterprises the opportunity to participate in the event for the first time. There were also 22 exhibitors from Italy and 16 from Tunisia.

Equip Auto Algeria 2008, is expected to attract similar interest. This exhibition like the earlier shows, will be held on 7000 square meters of exhibition space. The exhibitors will showcase their products under the following categories – equipment and accessories for light and industrial vehicles, after-sales networks, garage equipment and related services,
lubricants, maintenance and petroleum products, bodywork equipment and products, tires and rims, equipment, products and accessories for service areas and personal protective equipment.

In 2007, a major topic of discussion at Equip Auto Algeria was raising awareness of patent infringement and what needs to be done to prevent it. And next year’s show is likely to continue the dialogue.

Automotive Industries spoke to Francis Pegues, show director of Equip Auto Algeria.

AI: Please tell us a little about the growth prospects of the automotive industry in Algeria – which is touted as one of the most dynamic markets in North Africa.

FP The automotive industry in Algeria is, in terms of vehicle production, concentrated on heavy good vehicles, chiefly with the SNVI plant, located near Alger.

Most of the SNVI suppliers are Algerian companies, gathered in an association, UPIAM, which is a partner of Equip Auto Algeria since the very beginning of the show.

Sofar, the international car manufacturers haven’t decided yet to invest in plants in Algeria.

It means that this fast growing market (around 240 000 new cars a year) is at 100 % an import market.

AI: Why is an exhibition focusing on the aftermarket, spare parts and distribution sectors important to Algeria?

FP For two reasons:

The first one is included in the preceding answer : The automotive industry remains at a low turnover level in Algeria and is slowly increasing.
So there is no space for an OEM oriented show in Algeria.

On the contrary, the Aftermarket is booming.
The number of cars and trucks is increasing by 6 % every year.
The vehicles circulating in Algeria are 12 years old in average (less than 10 years old for the passenger cars). This means a high consumption level of spare parts.

In addition, the needs of mechanists for diagnosis systems and uptodate tools and workshop equipments is high too. Chiefly because a great number of technologically sophisticated cars are now on the second hand market. The owners of these vehicles are looking for quality repair and maintenance outside of the car manufacturers aftersales network

A large majority of spare parts and almost 100 % of the workshop equipment are imported.

It’s the right period for international parts and equipment manufacturers to take market shares and build a professional distribution in Algeria.

These elements are one main reason of the success of Equip Auto Algeria since its launching in 2006.

AI: What are some of the issues facing Algeria in terms of counterfeiting and infringing intellectual property rights?

FP Counterfeiting is a major issue in Algeria for vehicle spare parts. Almost the totality of fake parts are imported.

However, the Algerian authorities decided to cope with this issue, for economic and safety reasons and many actions have been taken against importers and distribution of fake parts.

Some major international components manufacturers also communicate against counterfeiting and work with Algerian lawyers. Equip Auto Algeria, which takes place together with the Algiers Motor Show, is the major event in the automotive year where different actors meet and communicate for the quality of parts.

Undoubtedly, the increasing technological level of cars circulating in Algeria and the growing organization of the parts market in this country will help to fight against the fake parts imports.

AI: How do you think the political situation in Algeria and issues of safety of international visitors, will affect participation in Equip Auto 2008?

FP 95 % of the visitors of the show are Algerian and the current political situation won’t affect their participation to the show.
Regarding the international exhibitors, some hotel accommodation are proposed, very close to the exhibition center : one street to cross to enter the Safex exhibition center where all necessary safety measures are taken.

AI: What are the opportunities for investors in Algeria’s automotive industry?

FP The existing opportunities of the Algeria’s automotive industry are chiefly concentrated in heavy goods vehicle equipment production (joint ventures or purchase of existing activities).

There is one project of car production, (a Korean car manufacturer is often mentioned) for a possible start at the end of the decade.

The fast growth of the Algerian market will likely call vocations of major industrial car and components manufacturers to establish facilities in Algeria.
But, sofar, the opportunities for international leaders of the automotive sector are first of all aftermarket business opportunities.

That’s why Equip Auto Algeria is an Aftermarket dedicated show.

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