According to a senior source, heavy demand from relatively younger re-export destinations such as Libya and Sudan has supported a 50% Plus boom in Dubai's after-market vehicle spare parts sector.
"Since the easing of sanctions, Libya has made significant progress, particularly in the previous 12 months. Several African markets have also increased their spare part sourcing operations out of Dubai "Auto Zone Spares Parts Est. chief executive Pradeep Handa remarked.
"Together, these markets, plus the Subcontinent, have more than compensated for any falloff from other territories."
According to conservative estimates, the local market generates Dh1.5 billion in vehicle spare parts sales, with domestic offtake accounting for roughly Dh400,000-500,000. While Chinese manufacturers have begun to establish a footprint in recent years, the Japanese continue to be the market leaders.
"The importance of Dubai being a strategic hub is being further reinforced these days, and more Japanese companies in the after-market business are considering opening liaison offices here," said Handa. "The yen too is very favourable.
"Though there is still the odd fly-by-night operator coming in with a few containers, these days it is getting tougher for them to do so.
"In the last year or so, Japan is becoming very strict about rights granted to those companies wishing to do business here, to ensure certain quality standards are maintained.
"The Chinese have improved the quality of their products, but still have some way to take on the Japanese.
"Dubai has gained more by not competing directly with Singapore and instead putting itself up as the natural transit point for trade to the entire Middle East and Africa."
According to Handa, the issue of counterfeit parts hasn't come up much in the aftermarket industry. While most bulk customers are price conscious, they do not go for obvious fakes simply because they are less expensive.
"In the after-market trade, it is less of an issue - customers coming in are more educated about their requirements. But there are still consignments coming in with their country of manufacture being changed.
"It all depends on how strict local governments are in taking action. The UAE has been particularly active, though some of the other Gulf states are less so."
Handa's company - which has a presence in Kuwait, Oman and South Africa as well - represents the likes of KYB, one of Japan's bigger shock absorber makers, and NKN, the manufacturer of CV joints.