Women driving to rev up car sales by 10%

May 28, 2018
A Saudi woman sits in a car during a driving training at a university in Jeddah. — Reuters file photo
A Saudi woman sits in a car during a driving training at a university in Jeddah. — Reuters file photo

Saudi Gazette report

— As women in Saudi Arabia get ready to take the wheel, automobile agents across the Kingdom have started displaying attractive car models in their showrooms to woo women customers.

They are also offering attractive installment options during the holy month of Ramadan when shopping and sales in the Kingdom reach their peak.

Faisal Abushausha, chairman of the national committee for cars at the Council of Saudi Chambers, said Saudi automobile agents are trying their best to offer the cars of choice to women customers.

He expects 6% to 10% increase in car sales with women starting to drive in the Kingdom, which is the largest automobile market in the Middle East.

He estimated the number of cars to be sold this year to cross 405,000.

According to a previous report carried by Al-Eqtisadiah business daily, Saudi Arabia imported 1.27 million cars in 2015. The figure dropped to 897,700 in 2016 and to 605,800 in 2017.

Car imports dropped by 291,900 last year compared to 2016. Imports fell to 667,000 during the past two years compared to 2015.

As part of the efforts to revive the Kingdom’s car market the first showroom for women was opened in Jeddah last January where fuel-efficient cars have been displayed.

Automobile agents are charging a profit margin of 7% to 10% on installment sales.

There are 35 insurance and re-insurance companies in the Kingdom in addition to 80 agents of international insurance firms and 15 loss assessment firms.

Meanwhile, the Traffic Department has instructed driving schools not to charge any additional fees from women than what has been fixed.

Women who don’t know driving should take 30 hours of training to get license. It will be reduced to six hours for those who know basic driving skills.

Driving schools will charge SR2,500 for 30-hour training. The department has licensed five driving schools in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Madinah and Tabuk.

The department has opened 21 offices to change international driving licenses to Saudi license. These offices are located in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Tabuk, Madinah, Jazan, Jubail, Al-Ahsa, Buraidah, Unaizah, Hail, Taif, Makkah, Abha, Arar, Najran, Baha, Gurayat and Sakaka.

The introduction of women driving in the Kingdom will create more job opportunities for Saudi women especially in areas such as security control, traffic patrol, investigation, inspection etc.

The move will also have a positive impact on the car insurance market, which was suffering losses in the past years due to many reasons, especially the high rate of fatal accidents.

“Women will be allowed to drive taxis after obtaining special license,” the department said.

“We have made all arrangements to welcome women drivers on the Kingdom’s roads,” a senior official at the department told Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper.

May 28, 2018
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