Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Mark De Haes: ‘KSA Market, One of the Largest Economic Engines in the Region’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Mark De Haes, the new president and CEO of Daimler Middle East and Levant.

London-CEO and President at Daimler Middle East and Levant Mark De Haes confirmed that the Saudi Vision 2030 seems to be positive as the Kingdom continues to build for itself a flourishing and sustainable future.

The CEO at Mercedes-Benz added in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that diversifying the economic sources away from dependence on oil will alone drive Saudi Arabia to become a major center for innovation and investments for the next decades as it will reflect on proving its power in the region, being described its economic engine.

De Haes also said that the Saudi market is one of the largest in the region and sales in it have increased by 10 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year.

He said that Daimler is looking for development in a thriving market and that economic sustainable growth means more trust in investment, thus reflecting on the consumer’s spending in all industries, including the automotive industry.

He further noted that Daimler’s investments in the Saudi market is currently related to boosting the Saudi consumer’s experience in the company’s services and expos as it has six showrooms, located in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Abha, four of them offering Sales, Service and Spare Parts services in one location.

“We currently have 42 outlets in the Middle East and Levant region, 21 of which are considered “3S” facilities offering Sales, Service and Spare Parts services in one location.”

He explained that his company’s main focus in 2016 is to take regional Mercedes-Benz outlets to the next level to further enhance its customer experience.

“Part of this,” he said, “is a distinctive new-look 3D-Black corporate identity, which will give our facilities an even more sophisticated and elegant look.”

De Haes also said that early this year, Mercedes-Benz has laid out its plug-in hybrid model strategy, which includes the presentation of 10 new cars with this technology by 2017.

When asked about the company’s achievements in 2015, De Haes said that his company has delivered more cars to customers in 2015 than ever before in one year.

“We sold a total of nearly 1,872,000 vehicles (+13.4% higher than 2014) globally, posting our fifth record year in a row,” he said.

“Our top selling models last year were the compact cars such as the A-Class, the CLA, and the GLA.”

About demand for hybrid and electric cars in the region and if there plans to introduce or expand these types in the region in the coming few years, De Haes said: “There is no doubt that sustainable cars are the future of the automotive industry. As you know, some countries around the world have been promoting sustainable cars for many years, for both fuel efficiency and for environmental factors.”

“The awareness of sustainable cars is increasing in the Middle East, largely as a result of governmental focus and foresight. Some markets in the region are seeing increasing sales of hybrid vehicles, particularly those in the Levant, and we expect this to gain momentum throughout the wider MENA region.”

He noted that with the development of alternative drive systems, Daimler is the only car producer investing in all three technologies of hybrid drive, electric motors and fuel cells, with the goal of achieving emission-free mobility in the long term.