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.


Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

Updated 21 June 2018
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Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

  • A fan named Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time.
  • Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s World Cup dreams were shattered after Uruguay beat the Green Falcons 1-0 in the second of the three group-stage matches. Most Saudi fans in Jeddah were much happier with the team’s performance in game two, following the resounding 5-0 defeat by host nation Russia in the opening match on June 14, but still bitterly disappointed by the loss, which means they cannot qualify for the knockout stages.

Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time. “Although we lost, the performance was much better than the first game with Russia. I hope we win our next match,” he said.

Nasrah, who watched the game with her two sons, said: “I was really disappointed because we played good today and nothing less than a win should have been acceptable. I am also disappointed to see the looks on my boys faces when the game ended as they were hoping for a win.”

Khalid Al-Raghbi said at least it had been a good match to watch. “We played a bit better today,” he added. “I wish we would have won but at least we performed better than our last match against Russia.”

Before the game, Ibrahim Al-Turki had been optimistic about Saudi Arabia’s chances. “We didn’t expect today’s result. I was thinking that Saudi would win by two goals, and Uruguay would score one,” he said.

The result was especially disappointing given the close result and the number of chances the Saudis had to score, said Badr, who added: “I don’t know what to tell you because we are deeply disappointed. At least if we lost with a big defeat I would say we deserved it. We had the potential but we could not score.”

Shadi Al-Ghamdi said he wished the national team’s much improved performance in their second game had been more evident in their first. “I am very proud of the players, I thought they played very well. I just wish they had played like this against Russia," he said.

Safah was less complimentary and said that the Saudi players had let their fans down, adding: “They seemed scared whenever they attempted to score any goals.”

Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25. It will be the final game in the competition for both sides, with only pride to play for, as they battle it out to see who will finish third in the group and who will be left in bottom spot.