Dubai: Arabian Automobiles Co., the local dealership for Infiniti, expects to throw down a marker for the other luxury brands with the launch of the JX crossover. The model, available in three variants and shipped over from Japan, is priced from Dh185,000 and makes full use of the recent softening of the yen against the dollar.
“Last year the yen was around 75 to a dollar and that did lead to higher showroom prices of Japanese models,” said Michel Ayat, CEO at AAC. “Now, with the rate hovering at 80 to the dollar, it helps us become more adventurous in the pricing and that’s what we did with the JX.”
The seven-seater JX sits in a niche which currently has only Audi’s Q7 as the major competition. It is also a niche that recorded significant growth rates in the last 12 months and more. “There’s no other competing model in the category and that’s why the JX can create some volume opportunities for us,” said Ayat. “Another plus would be our pricing given that the competition sells for Dh250,000 and more.”
The luxury car market in the UAE accounts for between 75,000 to 80,000 units a year and represents 14 per cent of the overall auto volumes annually. Incidentally, the UAE has the highest percentage for this category among Gulf states, where the average is around 7 per cent. Surprisingly, in Saudi Arabia the luxury car category is less than 7 per cent.
So far this year, sales of premium cars have recorded growth rates in the double-digits for most of the competing brands. “We have a settled line-up now that the JX is here and that’s going to help win us a higher market share,” said Ayat. “If the soft yen continues, that would be a huge bonus.”