By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter
Automobile businesses across the Middle East region, particularly the Gulf states, continue to be hopeful of improving their economic fortunes in the coming years, a senior industry professional told Gulf Times yesterday.
Managing director of General Motors (Middle East Commercial Operations) Markus Leithe said his company has “no reason whatsoever” to feel pessimistic about the future of the region’s automobile market, not withstanding the falling oil prices at the global level.
“This region has been traditionally strong when it comes to interest in automobiles compared to many other places across the world and almost the same levels of interest among the people are expected to continue in future too,” said the GM official. “I don’t see any special reason to panic,” he added.
Leithe was in Doha yesterday to attend the opening of the Middle East’s largest standalone Chevrolet showroom of Jaidah Automotive on the Airport Road. The sprawling 3,300 metres state-of-the-art edifice is showcasing 33 different types of Chevrolet vehicles with a unique zoning concept.
While terming Qatar as an active and lively market of his company, the GM official said this country has all along been very receptive to the brand and its numerous models over the years. “Even after the global economic slowdown of 2008, the local market of General Motors, especially Chevrolet, has remained strong in this country and it is very much discernible from the remarkable growth it has witnessed in the last seven years,” said Leithe.
“The main reason for our company’s good growth in the local market is because of our trusted alliance with a company as committed as Jaidah Automotive, which has invested heavily to develop the General Motors market to an impressive level”.
All such developments and growth in the region’s automobile business, he said, stand testimony to the fact that the automobile buffs here are among the most passionate ones across the world and they go all out to possess the best available in the market.
“Whether it is SUVs, passenger cars, or pick-up vehicles, General Motors has the best to offer to its loyal customers and they will continue to patronise its products in the coming years as they have been over the years,” said the official.
Replying to a query on the company’s business strategies to be adopted in the region in the next few years in view of the slowdown in the economy, Leithe said they would focus more on passenger car segment. “We are expecting a good growth in this area as its business has been encouraging in the last few years. The good growth recorded in the last few years shows an increasing interest in the company’s cars among the region’s populace,” the company official said, adding that similar growth is expected in the SUV segment as well, owing to the growing acceptance and recognition of GM models in the market.
Leithe said though no statistical data is available at this stage about the company’s market share in the Gulf, the official has no doubt that Chevrolet and other GM models have been widely received across the region in recent years.
Leithe, who has been at his company’s Overseas Distribution office in Dubai for more than five years, has close to 18 years uninterrupted experience in the industry.
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