Renault appoints Gulf Advantage Automobiles for Saudi Arabia

Gulf Advantage Automobiles, a joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s Al Baazei and Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, has been appointed as exclusive distributors of Renault passenger cars and light commercial vehicles across the Kingdom following a signing ceremony held earlier today.

Renault’s Executive Vice President for Asia and Africa, Mr. Katsumi Nakamura, Gulf Advantage Automobiles Chairman, Mr. Ahmad Bahwan and Mr. Abdulla Baazei, Managing Director of Saleh Al Baazei & Sons attended the signing ceremony where the announcement was formally made to media.

Representing 75 years of combined industry experience, Gulf Advantage Automobiles is the amalgamation of two leaders in the automotive sector. Saudi’s Al Baazei brings over 35 years of local automotive experience while Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, a part of the multibillion dollar multinational Suhail Bahwan Group, has over 40 years of industry experience across the region and North Africa.

Renault is a leading brand representing over 100 years of automotive excellence. In 1999, Renault bought a 44.3% stake in Nissan forging a powerful alliance. Today the Renault-Nissan alliance forms the fourth largest automotive group in the world. Renowned for its cutting edge designs, Renault is a pioneer when it comes to safety and is the only manufacturer that has 12 of its models certified with 5-stars from Euro NCAP.

Reinforcing its commitment and the importance of Saudi Arabia, Renault and Gulf Advantage Automobiles have a significant investment plan of more than SR100m including three brand new showrooms in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, eight state-of-the-art service centers and a network of 25 spare part outlets.

Commenting on this important strategic decision, Mr. Nakamura from Renault who flew down to Riyadh especially for this occasion said the distributorship brings a renewed approach to ensure optimum levels of quality, expertise and service are delivered to customers, matching Renault’s ambitious plans for the Kingdom.

“The GCC has been highlighted as a key growth area as part of Renault’s global strategy and in particular Saudi Arabia. In Gulf Advantage Automobiles we have found the right partner and with a renewed focus, we look forward to bringing not only the right product line-up and quality but also a new and refreshed customer oriented focus. With these objectives in mind, we aim to double car sales volumes in the first year of operations itself,” he added.

The appointment of Gulf Advantage Automobiles follows the strategic decision made by previous Renault distributor, Zahid Tractors & Heavy Machinery Co. Ltd, to focus on B2B operations. Zahid Tractor’s Renault car operations will end on the 8th of July. Gulf Advantage Automobiles will officially commence operations on the 17th of July as exclusive Renault partners from their new premises in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam.

Mr. Ahmad Bahwan, Chairman of Gulf Advantage Automobiles added:” We have ambitious plans for the Kingdom and are looking at rapidly expanding our reach within Saudi Arabia. Our new showrooms are due to open shortly and we are aiming towards doubling our service centres and facilities within the first twelve months providing more convenience to customers.

“We are honoured to be working with one of Europe’s leading car manufacturers and are confident of strengthening the brands position further. Customers can expect to see a full line-up from sedans to hatchbacks to LCVs to SUVs and several new launches and innovative service initiatives such as Guaranteed buy back, 95% parts availability, standby cars, and overnight maintenance of Renault cars to name a few.

“Consumers can also expect a new automobile experience with a renewed approach and unrivalled products that are tested and designed to suit our environment,” Mr. Bahwan added.

According to recent reports, car sales in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s largest automobile market, are expected to jump over 30% from around 676,000 in 2010 to 880,000 in 2013 as the Kingdom remains economically and commercially resilient against the global downturn. The Kingdom remains the largest market in the Middle East and fifth in the world for auto parts, accessories, service, and garage equipment. These numbers paint a positive scenario for Renault’s newly launched partnership.

Renault GCC’s Managing Director, Mr. Mustansir Lakdawala, is confident of the success of the new dealership and stated that Renault is entering a ‘new era’ in the Kingdom, with exciting models on offer and exceptional customer service.

“Saudi Arabia is an extremely important market for us and we have big plans for the coming months. In-depth planning, analysis and huge investments have been made to develop new facilities and showrooms for our esteemed clients. All the cars we bring to Saudi Arabia are locally tested, adapted and aligned to suit the regions requirements. I am confident that together with our new partners, Gulf Advantage Automobiles, we will gain market confidence and replicate the success we have witnessed across the GCC.”

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