The cream of the crop on display at Automech 2008

Daily News Egypt
4 Min Read

With a more dynamic and competitive market than ever, Automech Akhbar El Yom is launching its 13th edition today, bringing together over 400 exhibitors from 16 countries, singer Nadia Ali performing at the opening and an expected figure of half a million visitors to the six-day event.

This year is marked by the comeback of Mercedes-Benz, as well as Jaguar’s futuristic XF, and Toyota’s hybrid Prius, which will probably see much success as fuel prices continue escalating.

BMW lovers will be treated to the M3 cabriolet and its devilish V8 under the hood. They will also be introduced to the eyebrow-raising X6 (a crossover between a luxurious four-door coupe and a 4×4). Most of all, they will fall in love with the new 135i coupe. This new coupe, the smallest and most affordable of the three, will be the “pièce de résistance at BMW’s booth. This is their area of expertise: small and sporty, with the rear-wheel drive and straight six-cylinder petrol engine only the Bavarian engineers know how to make. This baby Beemer (with the right driver behind the wheel-drive) could beat the benchmark Cayman S.

The direct competitor from Stuttgart is more mystical however. The spotlight turned to the Cayman S after it announced it is introducing five new models to the Egyptian market, which is bad news for Mercedes-Benz – it’s time to step up their game.

There are already some speculations about Mercedes’ announced models: The revamped SL and CLS, the C-Class coupe named CLC, and probably two 4×4’s (the M-Class and the G-Class, or the brand new GLK). Audi will also be present with its latest models.

Italian divas will be present as well with Ferrari and Maserati’s latest creations. Ferrari will present the older but ever-so-sexy F430, and Maserati will reveal its glamorous four-door Quattroporte, as well as the irresistible GranTurismo.

Both share the V8 block that powers the F430. But the most intriguing Italian car this year is only 3.5 meters long, weighs less than one ton, and inherits the infinite aura of its ancestor: the Fiat 500 is a small, sexyand trendy car.

Carmakers Korea, China and India will also be present, and the exhibition will see a profusion of small low-cost cars. The Chinese will try to counter the stereotype that they only produce cheap cars by presenting new models, ranging from sedans to off-roaders and compact cars.

The Koreans will have to fight hard to maintain their market share, especially Hyundai, the most affected by the Chinese invasion.

TATA, the Indian car manufacturer that in the same time introduced the NANO (the world’s cheapest car at $2,500), and bought Jaguar and Land Rover, is set to unveil a number of surprises.

Ford and General Motors will show off their latest models in an attempt to develop foster clients outside the saturated American market.

Although it sounds like a full house, the show will actually be missing some of the leading carmakers such as Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Lotus and Chrysler, among others.

Nonetheless, the current exhibitors are enough to make for a successful event as they introduce even more vehicles to Egypt’s chaotic traffic, whose average speed during the day is currently 20 km/h, and is expected to slow down to 0 km/h by 2012.

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