UAE automotive industry moves into the fast lane

UAE is known for its penchant for luxury cars throughout the world. There seems no limits when it comes to investing on favourite car brand in this country. Further fuelling the interest of buyers is the inovative concept of automotive retail that is heading towards a dignified growth phase in the Emirates.

Current car sale market in the UAE seems to be on a roll and is expected to grow twice as fast in comparison to the North American and European market by 2022, as per the reports by Carmudi, an online portal of cars’ sale.

The UAE has been advocated to be one of the fastest growing automotive markets across the globe. Swaidan Trading Co. LLC is the biggest trading wing of the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group’s Commercial Division, one of the UAE’s leading brand names. Krishna Kumar Shetty, deputy general manager — Automotive Division, Swaidan Trading Co. LLC, talks about the evident growth of the automotive sector in the region.

Excerpts from the interview
UAE was considered as one of the fastest-growing car markets in the world in 2014 financial year. Can you share your opinion on the same? What kind of numbers are we looking at?

The 2014 was a good year for the UAE automobile industry, which was the fastest growing auto market in the world after Saudi Arabia. Auto sales grew up by around 13 percent in the UAE. Also, it was a very successful year for us at Swaidan Trading Co. LLC.

Do you believe in aggressive marketing campaigns? Do these campaigns increase the percentage of sales?

Our flagship brand Peugeot is available in different models including saloon, hatchback, crossover, MPV and commercial vehicles. There is a car for everyone when it comes to Peugeot. Aggressive marketing campaigns have worked brilliantly for us. However, we have now inclined our initiatives more towards online marketing. This has helped us engage better with our customers and potential buyers. Trends show that mobile marketing is the best way reach out to consumers in 2016.

The main objective of a marketing campaign is to first spread awareness which eventually convert into sales over a period of time. Our recent campaign around the newly launched GT Line was incredible. We have adopted both traditional and digital platforms for communication. This had a great impact which translated into test drive requests and eventually sales.

In your opinion, what is the core strategy leading to success?

At Swaidan Trading Co. LLC, we believe in thorough engagement and customer satisfaction. This has always been very important for us. Every customer is different and has to be approached differently. The UAE market is very competitive and the need of the hour is to maintain loyal customers.

What was the recorded growth in the previous year? Do you have plans to bring new car models in UAE in the recent future?

An overall growth by 10 percent was recorded in the previous financial year (2014-15). This year, however, has been rather moderate for Swaidan Trading Co. LLC., but we foresee a speedy increase in sales in the coming year especially because we have our flagship model Peugeot 308 GTi to be launched in the first half of 2016.

We are very excited about this launch as a considerable amount of interest and eagerness has been generated already, thanks to the Dubai International Motor Show. We have also been focusing more on social media platforms to communicate and engage with our consumers.

What is your future expectation?
The growth has been moderate this year due to various factors including weak global economy and fluctuating oil prices. We are however, positive about the upcoming year because of the launch of the all new Peugeot 308 GTi. A lot of our customers are eagerly waiting for the arrival of this sports model which has been well received across the world.