The Middle East region’s automotive market will recover fully from the pandemic-induced dip, said experts from the industry. While full recovery could take up to four years, many market analysts say they have already started seeing signs of rebound, driven by the implementation of digital tools and the region’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
These positive messages were delivered at the Automechanika Dubai Network, a one-day event held under the theme ‘Let’s Talk Business: Adaptation & Innovation During COVID-19’.
Speaking at one of the sessions, Vishal Pandey, Automotive & Mobility Practice, at Glasgow Consulting Group said he believes the regional governments’ initiatives have been critical to boosting the economy. “KSA and the UAE have managed the pandemic particularly well. They have taken the lead on various measures and austerities that have driven and supported the economy,” he said. Pandey added that while the passenger car market dipped significantly in 2020, with an expected revival by 2022, it is the introduction of new service models – relying heavily on ecommerce, digitalisation and customer relations – that could offset the impact of the pandemic on the industry. “Digitally-enabled experiences and access to services that evolve the customer’s expectations have helped rebuild confidence in the industry and generate sales. This means the passenger car market is on track to reach pre-COVID levels by 2025,” Pandey added.
Harmeet Singh, After Sales Director at Al Masaood Automobiles, highlighted figures from a recent survey to understand customer preferences for digital dealership platforms. “Like the rest of the industries, the automotive market has adapted to the new changes to ensure business continuity. We focused on rolling out our innovative digital solutions and digitising our operational processes.” He said 95 percent of respondents in the survey expected both real time availability of vehicles and prices of cars and services to be displayed, while 73 percent expected real-time communication and 63 per cent wanted the option to pay for services through the digital platform. “We further leveraged our digital channels to provide sales and after-sales services and added further simplicity and convenience to our customers’ experience. Our aim was to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of our services without comprising the health, safety, or convenience of everyone,” he added.
Organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the Network was held as a precursor to this year’s Automechanika Dubai which will take place from 14-16 December 2021 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Mahmut Gazi Bilikozen, Automechanika Dubai’s Show Director, said, “How companies and organisations have reacted and adapted to the sweeping changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has already proven the industry’s resilience.”