ASTANA – On Oct. 10, the capital of Kazakhstan hosted the Astana International Auto Salon 2013 international automobile exhibition for the first time. Automakers from 14 countries including Germany, Japan, the USA, South Korea, the Czech Republic and Russia gathered to present brand new vehicles to the public and create a platform for productive commercial dialogue between local and foreign car producers.
The auto show was organized by the international exhibition company Expo Group and was supported by the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan, KAZNEX INVEST as well as by the National Agency for the Development of Local Content (NADLoC).
Opening the show, the head of EXPO Group, Zhanibek Utegenov noted that the number of Kazakhstan drivers who prefer locally assembled vehicles has been rising over the past year.
“Our goal was to present domestic automakers alongside foreign ones. We want to convey that cars can be manufactured in Kazakhstan – we take pride in this. Today, our citizens realize that they can buy a car at more competitive prices that have easy to find spare parts and decent service centres. In addition, locally assembled vehicles are gradually gaining buyers in other countries of the Customs Union,” Utegenov said.
Kazakhstan is in dire need of an upgrade of its entire domestic fleet. This need is caused by the unsecure situation of the roads, as well as by regional environmental factors.
The Kazakhstan premiere of the updated Skoda Superb and a number of new products from Kia – the ‘flagship’ Quoris, the updated business Cadenza sedan and the three-door hatchback called pro_cee’d as well as a presentation of Ford’s new compact van B-MAX took place at the car show.
The centrepiece of the exhibition was the new, innovative and eco friendly i-MiEV (Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle). The exhibition featured two electro-cars, the i-MiEV in black and blue. While introducing the new vehicles, the head of the Innovative Electric Mitsubishi project, Alexey Daniel said a typical domestic socket can charge a car in seven hours. This is enough to drive 160 km using the energy saving mode, or 147 km in the normal mode. Its maximum speed is 130 km/h. Compared to its gasoline-electric counterparts, the electro-car is nine times more efficient.
“We are pleased to present our electro-cars to you today. Unfortunately, there is no proper infrastructure for them in Kazakhstan. We are working on this matter and have already signed a number of contracts with specialised companies,” said Alexey Daniel. The Mitsubishi representative expected Kazakhstan to adapt to electric cars in the same manner that Russia did, where 500 electro-cars i-MiEV were purchased by the government.
The electro-car will cost US$ 60,000 in Kazakhstan, but any novelty comes with a high price tag. According to a Mitsubishi representative, this price will only be asked during the start-up period, if producers reach an agreement with authorities on i-MiEV import preferences, the price will drop to US$ 50,000. Alexey Daniel also mentioned that according to company forecasts, electro-cars will compose 20 percent of the world car market by 2020.
First Deputy Minister of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan Albert Rau also attended the exhibition. He said the government is discussing a bill on the partial or full exemption of electro-cars from customs duties.
“It is still necessary to somehow build up our production capabilities,” said the official.
In his speech, Rau expressed hope such a car show will be organized every year from now on.
Two Kazakhstan car industry giants, Allur Auto and Asia Auto also presented their new Peugeot, SsangYong, Chevrolet, Skoda and KIA, which were assembled in Kostanay and Ust-Kamenogorsk.
Today, the world’s largest car producers tend to pass on saving technologies that reduce carbon dioxide emissions. According to the organizers, the cars exhibited at AIAS 2013 were equipped with such technologies.
The organizers are confident this new auto show will be a milestone in Kazakhstan’s transition to a green economy and in its preparation for the future energy themed EXPO-2017.
The Astana International Auto Salon 2013 was held on October 10-12 at the Korme Exhibition Complex. The exhibition attracted the attention of the country’s leading financial institutions, insurance companies and banks offering car loans.