Car show opens, boosted by advent of Saudi women drivers

Car manufacturers will be the first to benefit in allowing women to drive, along with banks and insurance companies that finance and underwrite new car purchases. (Reuters)
Updated 05 February 2018
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Car show opens, boosted by advent of Saudi women drivers

RIYADH: The decision to allow Saudi women to drive starting June this year has brought bright prospects to the local car industry as the biennial three-day Automechanika car show takes center stage on Monday.
Saudi Arabia is the largest auto and auto parts market in the Middle East, accounting for an estimated 40 percent of all vehicles sold in the region, statistics show. The Kingdom imported about 1 million vehicles in 2016.
Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Middle East, which is a co-organizer of the show, said the influx of Saudi women drivers will have a significant impact on auto parts, maintenance and services industry in the Kingdom.
“Car manufacturers will be the first to benefit in allowing women to drive, along with banks and insurance companies that finance and underwrite new car purchases,” Pauwels said.
At present, the Kingdom already has seven million passenger vehicles in operation and this will increase significantly in the coming years, with some nine million new drivers expected to be added to the roads.
He advised car manufacturers and suppliers in the Kingdom to stake their claim early in the market, which is full of opportunities.
He added that after the car manufacturers benefit, “the aftermarket comes next when these millions of additional cars will require regular repair maintenance, replacement parts, tires, batteries, accessories, car care and grooming.
“Revenues for the Kingdom’s aftermarket was worth more than $6.7 billion in 2016, so it’s already a significant market, and the largest in the Middle East,” he said.
The exhibition, with 200 companies from 25 countries as participants, is being held from Feb. 5 to 7 at the Riyadh International Exhibition Center with Mansour Abdullah Al-Shathri, Riyadh Chamber’s board vice chairman, as the guest of honor.


Huge free bus service to speed fans to the 2018 Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix action

Updated 11 December 2018
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Huge free bus service to speed fans to the 2018 Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix action

  • Multiple pick-up points around the city, at malls and hotels, with easy access to Ad Diriyah so ticket holders can relax and leave the car at home

RIYADH: One of the biggest free ‘Park & Ride’ public shuttle bus systems Saudi Arabia has ever laid on for an event will swing into action for the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix, which gets underway this week.
The festival of Formula E racing, entertainment, international music acts and cultural activities starts on at 4pm Thursday December 13, at the stunning UNESCO heritage site of Ad Diriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh.
Plus, on the evening of December 13, Enrique Iglesias and Jason Derulo will kick off the first of three incredible nights of music concerts for Formula E ticket holders. The following day, December 14, Arab music legend Amr Diab and globally-renowned pop band Black Eyed Peas will delight the audience. And, on December 15, race day, following the exhilarating 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix, US smash hit OneRepublic and superstar DJ/producer David Guetta will bring the event to an electrifying finale.
Only fans holding tickets will be able to access the entire Ad Diriyah site including the race track, the concert arena and the complimentary concerts and the 180,000 sq m Allianz E Village.
So, with thousands set to descend on the site, officials are ensuring that fans can race to the action, with a huge network of free buses created to cut down on traffic and embrace more sustainable transport alternatives in keeping with Formula E’s message.

Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Faisal Al-Saud, President of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, said: “Saudi Arabia is on a journey toward sustainability and Formula E’s message of renewable energy and working to minimize its environmental footprint is inspiring and important.
“We want Formula E to electrify and inspire the next generation of Saudis to embrace sustainable forms of transport.
“That’s why, in keeping with other Formula E races around the world, we’ll be encouraging ticket holders to take advantage of the ‘Park & Ride’. Cars trying to get to Ad Diriyah without specific access will not have access and will be directed to use the public ‘Park & Ride’. So, relax, leave the car at home, and leave the driving to us.
“Our partnership with Formula E is for the next decade and this is one small step we can take together. At SAMF we are committed to improving driving standards and driving conditions and encouraging responsible driving.”
Single day and three-day Grandstand ticket holders can benefit from a ‘Park & Ride’ service, which will operate from King Saud University, with space for up to 7,000 cars.
Plus, shuttle buses will operate a ‘City Park & Ride’ network from a number of locations across Riyadh with pick-up points at Al Faisaliah, Narcissus Hotel, the Hyatt Regency, Four Seasons, Fraser Suites, Holiday Inn Al Meydan, Holiday Inn Olaya, Aloft hotel, Burj Rafal Kempinski Hotel, Sheraton Riyadh Hotel, Executive KAFD Hotel, Movenpick Riyadh Hotel, Marriott King Saud Rd Hotel, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Panorama Mall and Riyadh Park Mall.
On each day it will begin operating an hour before Ad Diriyah opens. Shuttles start 3pm on Thursday (ahead of venue opening at 4pm), 1pm on Friday (venue opens 2pm) and finally 9am on Saturday (race day, venue opens 10am).
Uber, Careems or official taxis will be directed to a ‘drop off’ area in the general parking area.
Drivers without the official Formula E parking pass will not have access to Ad Diriyah and will be directed to use the public ‘Park & Ride’
If you are a Grandstand ticket holder, whether a single day or a three-day ticket holder, you need to purchase three tickets to qualify for one parking pass.
For every three Grandstand tickets purchased the buyer gets one pass into the general parking area.
If no parking pass, then you must use the ‘Park & Ride’.
Tickets are on sale here and are also available at Point of Sale units at Riyadh Park Mall, Oud Square and Doos Carting (only Grandstand tickets from Doos) and Seven Car Lounge.