Naghi BMW director: ‘Saudi Vision 2030 offers road map to transform Saudi economy’

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BMW 7 Series revealed at Naghi Motors in Riyadh.
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BMW 7 Series: A favorite of many BMW fans in the Kingdom.
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Donn Muirhead: ‘We are growing our network.’
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7 Series interior.
Updated 07 October 2017

Naghi BMW director: ‘Saudi Vision 2030 offers road map to transform Saudi economy’

Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors — BMW Group (Naghi BMW) has undertaken a series of initiatives to provide employment opportunities to Saudi citizens and to secure long-term financial security, according to Donn Muirhead, managing director of Naghi BMW.
In an interview with Arab News, Muirhead confirmed that the company has increased BMW and MINI sales in the Kingdom during the first quarter of this year by 30 percent.
He revealed that he sees Vision 2030 as a roadmap for transforming the country’s economy.
In a wide-ranging interview, the Briton revealed that the Saudi market will see the launch of new models this year including the 6 Series Gran Turismo which made its public debut at Frankfurt’s International Motor Show (IAA) in last month. This will be followed by the new X3 later in the year.

Here’s what he had to tell Arab News.

How did BMW do in the Kingdom in the first quarter of this year compared to first quarter of 2016 and which model has been the best seller?
We have increased BMW and MINI sales by 30 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2016 thanks to our top-selling BMW 7 Series. The BMW 7 Series continues to be the favorite of many of our customers including government sectors and commercial entities.

Are there any implications for the car industry in Saudi Arabia and specifically for BMW from the announced strategy of Vision 2030?
The Saudi Vision 2030 provides the ideal roadmap for transforming the Saudi economy. The Saudi automotive industry plays a huge role in the vision, as it caters to the largest market in the GCC.
Living up to Vision 2030, Naghi BMW has undertaken a series of initiatives and measures to improve the business environment to ensure economic growth, to provide employment opportunities to citizens and to secure long-term financial security. These include empowering Saudi youth, continuous investment in infrastructure and new technologies and a pledge of delivering a high level of customer service.

While most companies are racing to produce electric and plug-in hybrids, how do you see that segment developing in Saudi Arabia from brands such as BMW?
Electric and hybrid vehicles are gaining more exposure in the region and are steadily increasing due to evolution of technology, consumer needs and oil instability. BMW pioneers in this sector with the BMW i8 locally and globally and we believe this segment is expanding.
BMW has already made strong developments in the electric and plug-in hybrid cars segment with the BMWi being a BMW Group brand focused on connected mobility services, visionary vehicle concepts and a new understanding of premium strongly defined by sustainability.

What new models will you have introduced to the Saudi Arabian market during 2017?
Naghi Motors — BMW Group has launched the BMW 5 Series in March 2017. The seventh generation of the BMW 5 Series Sedan cuts a sporty, elegant and stylish figure with further enhanced dynamics and an unbeatable line-up of assistance systems. In addition, we welcomed the BMW M760Li xDrive. The 12-cylinder petrol engine with M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology under the bonnet reinforces the new car’s range-topping status. We are looking forward to the launch of the BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo which made its public debut at Frankfurt’s International Motor Show (IAA) last month. The market launch will then get underway in November. Later this year will also see the launch of the BMW X3.

How do you see the market in Saudi Arabia performing this year compared to last year, in view of volatility of oil prices?
2017 has been characterized by fluctuation and the automotive market has been influenced as well. The total automotive industry in the Kingdom showed a decrease in sales of around 15 percent [reaching 30 percent] for the premium brands, such as BMW. In Naghi BMW, the strong team spirit, the dedication to our values and most of all our customer-centric philosophy has proved an additional asset that contributed significantly to the dominance of the 7 Series in its segment and a market share of 75.5 percent.

What after-sale services are you offering the Saudi consumer? And how widespread are BMW’s service and spare parts points in the Kingdom?
Naghi Motors — BMW Group is continuously expanding its after-sales services in all areas to maintain mechanism and body work. Services included are for brakes, oil, exhaust, mechanical repairs. Including minor to complete engine rebuild, and body work that begins from minor scratch to complete accident rebuild. Naghi BMW is constantly growing its network of new and used cars and after-sales showrooms as well as fast-lane service centres in key areas across the Kingdom, including the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.
Service centers and spare parts stretch across the Kingdom with centres in Jeddah, Riyadh, Alkhobar, Makkah, Madinah and Al-Qassim.

How long does it take to get delivery of a BMW car with individual options after an order from Saudi Arabia?
BMW group follow a set of standards and procedures to ensure customers receive their favorite car with their choice of options. This process takes around five months — the same applies to any individual delivery worldwide.

What is BMW’s share of the local premium-car market? And who are your main competitors?
Our main competitors in the market are Mercedes and Audi. We have a market share of 22.5 percent.

Tesla production leader Doug Field exits company

Tesla produced 5,000 of its Model 3 cars, along with a combined total of 2,000 Model S and Model X vehicles. (AP)
Updated 03 July 2018

Tesla production leader Doug Field exits company

SAN FRANCISCO: Tesla on Monday confirmed that the head of Model 3 production, who went on leave after chief executive Elon Musk took over his duties, will not be returning.
The departure of engineering senior vice president Doug Field came as California-based Tesla appeared to have finally hit a self-imposed goal of cranking out 5,000 Model 3 electric cars in a week.
Tesla co-founder Musk fired off a Twitter post over the weekend saying “7,000 cars, 7 days.”
In a note to investors on Monday, Analyst Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities said that in the preceding week, Tesla produced 5,000 of its Model 3 cars, along with a combined total of 2,000 Model S and Model X vehicles.
Tesla has been under pressure to increase production to show it can operate profitably and at the kind of scale needed to be considered a major auto company.
Musk has been managing the Tesla production line, which has been rejiggered to pump out cars faster.
Field will not be returning to the company, according to Tesla.
“After almost five years at Tesla, Doug Field is moving on,” a company spokesman told AFP.
“We’d like to thank Doug for his hard work over the years and for everything he has done for Tesla.”
Tesla announced in June that it was cutting nine percent of its workforce to enhance profitability, but said the move would not affect an ambitious production ramp-up of its Model 3 sedan.
The job cuts are part of a company-wide restructuring to address excess staff in some areas due to the company’s speedy growth, Musk said in an email to employees.
The cuts concern salaried staff but not production workers and will not affect Model 3 output targets, said Musk, who characterized the downsizing as an acknowledgement of the need to focus more on costs.
“Given that Tesla has never made an annual profit in the almost 15 years since we have existed, profit is obviously not what motivates us,” Musk said in the message.
“What drives us is our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable, clean energy, but we will never achieve that mission unless we eventually demonstrate that we can be sustainably profitable.”
Shares of Tesla closed the formal trading day down 2.3 percent to $335.07 but regained some of that ground in after-market trades.