In face of the rising interest in modified cars, the UAE’s Minister of State, Dr Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, announced at the beginning of June the government’s intention to introduce rules to ensure that customised cars are safe for drivers and passengers.
This came just after the hottest transport news in UAE: that actor Tyrese Gibson, star of the “Fast and Furious” series of films, had opened the first overseas branch of his Voltron business in Sharjah. The Texas-based company produces custom versions of Jeep Wranglers and has signed an agreement with Sharjah Asset Management, the Government of Sharjah’s investment body, to open in Sharjah and offer vehicles in almost 300 showrooms.
The popularity of customisation for car buyers was highlighted by claims that 17 of Gibson’s Volton models were sold in the first three days after the announcement was made. Huge investment has been attracted to the modified car market with new race circuits in the UAE and car shows and meetings are increasing in number every year.
This rapid growth has raised concerns and Dr Fahad, who is also chairman of the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Meteorology, said that the authority has been working together with the relevant federal and local strategic bodies to devise a set of standards that will ensure modified vehicles do not compromise safety.
Once the new system is in place, car workshops and service centres will only be allowed to make modifications to cars if they conform to particular technical specifications. The new rules will not apply to caravans, trailers, tractors or motorcycles, although separate plans are in the pipeline to restrict the size of delivery motorcycles’ storage boxes after a spate of accidents and traffic violations.
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