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Taajeer Group launches Maxus T60 pickup in Saudi Arabia

Time: March 30, 2019   

TAAJEER Group, the exclusive distributor for Maxus brand in Saudi Arabia, has recently unveiled the all-new Maxus T60, the pickup that has recently received a five-star recognition in terms of safety from the ANCAP safety ranking. The brand Maxus originate from the LDV Maxus model of the historical British commercial vehicle manufacturer LDV Group. Formerly known as LDV (Leyland DAF Vans), Maxus is one of the most respected companies for light passenger and cargo transport in the UK. Over the years, the Maxus brand has won several awards including “Fleet Van of the Year”, “Best New Van”, “Innovation Award” and also “Van of the Year” for four Consecutive Years. Maxus is currently distributed at four continents and is internationally recognized for its comfort, technology and high standards.

The T60 takes design inspiration from the strength, power, and grace of that of a “bull” in western mythology. It proved its capabilities on winding roads, washboard roads as well as mountain climbing, during which it displayed excellent performance in comparison to other pickups in its category.

Hazm Jamjoom, COO at Taajeer Group, said: “Taajeer Group is very keen to provide solutions based on the needs of the market and customers alike, where the launch of Maxus brand in the Saudi market marks a step towards a better choice for your business and commercial needs. in view of what this prestigious brand represents in terms of trust and extensive experience in the field of high quality pickup trucks. The launch of Maxus T60 will enhance the prestige of this brand in the automotive sector in the Kingdom, as this model will provide extra service based on the high operational value of this pickup truck compared with its competitors in the same segment due to its high quality and the availability of all after sale services”.

The Maxus T60 is powered by a 2.4 liter Inline 4 naturally aspirated petrol with 136 horsepower. In addition, the T60 is excellent in dynamic performance, equipped with advanced 2.8T VM turbo diesel engines, featuring 110 KW of power and a maximum 360 NM of torque. Its drag capacity of 3.5 tons can help vehicles out of danger. A 5-speed manual, and 6 speed manual transmissions are available with these engines

Safety is a vital part of T60, that’s why it adopts both active and passive safety systems to avoid any potential problems. On one hand, the vehicle uses thermoforming technology to improve the strength of its steel plates. On the other hand, six air bags in the auto offer driver full protection, with top scores in all segments, the ANCAP report shows the Maxus T60 scored high grades in all tests with overall Score 35.46 out of 37.

Starting from the dual frontal, side and head airbags the T60 scored 14.46 out of 16 in the frontal Offset test that includes head/neck, chest, and upper and lower legs tests. In the side impact test, the vehicle scored 16 out of 16. The side impact test normally used by ANCAP simulates a small car striking the driver’s door of the test vehicle. In the pole test, which detects the side curtain airbags, the vehicle scored the maximum 2 points for head protection. Whiplash protection is assessed to the RCAR Protocol, the T60 showed high abilities of safety with Good mark, the highest in ranking. In the Pedestrian Protection, this vehicle scored 26.64 out of 36 points (Acceptable). Besides, the Seat Belt Reminders scored 3 out of 3.

T60 is equipped with LED lights for its Adaptive Front Lighting System. Moreover, a string of safety configurations, including the Around View Monitor (AVM), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Driver Fatigue Monitor System, ensures T60 drivers have comprehensive protection in extreme road conditions. The T60 also highlights stability with BOSCH 9.0 Electronic Stability Program (ESP).

The six air bags, thermoforming technology, YunOS Car ware, five-star ANCAP design for crash safety, anti-corrosion design is some of the most novel functions of T60.

Meanwhile, Tom Lee, Managing Director for SAIC Motor Middle East, said: The Maxus brand has a unique proposition which sets it apart in the commercial vehicle market. Over the years, our products have received positive response across the GCC and especially in the UAE. We are pleased to deepen our existing partnership with Taajeer Group and are excited to work closely with them on the Maxus brand. This partnership will enable us to take advantage of MG’s established network and after-sales facilities and capitalize on this unique synergy. Our commitment is underlined by our single purpose which is to offer a customer centric experience through our innovative product range. — SG

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette

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How Saudi Arabia is improving its railways

Time: March 04, 2019  

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Saudi passengers on the platform at Makkah train station at the opening of the high-speed Haramain railway, above. Construction at a Riyadh metro station, below. (AFP)
  • The high-speed Haramain is operating at near-full capacity, while the North-South line is being expanded
  • Riyadh’s Metro is almost complete, and more track is being added

 

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is on track to develop its rail networks as part of a GCC-wide push to ramp up regional transportation, with the high-speed Haramain railway now operating at near-full capacity, Riyadh’s Metro almost complete and another 800km of track, along with sleeping coaches, added to the Kingdom’s North-South railway.
Such projects are helping the country move toward realizing the goals of Vision 2030, with transportation a key driver of the economic renaissance that will take place as the Kingdom’s economy moves away from its reliance on oil.
Saudi Arabia’s first rail line, between Riyadh and Dammam, opened in 1951. “It was inaugurated by the founder King Abdul Aziz and the late King Saud, who put the nail for the last mile in the track from Dammam to Riyadh,” said Dr. Rumaih Al-Rumaih, president of the Public Transport Authority in Saudi Arabia. He spoke at the Middle East Rail conference, part of the Middle East Smart Mobility event in Dubai last week, where he provided an update of the Kingdom’s ambitious transportation plans.
“The current line transported 1.8 million passengers in 2018 and we are improving services and increasing speeds, with our target this year to increase it from 160km to 180km. We also transported 700,000 containers from Dammam Port to Riyadh’s Dry Port.”
The Haramain High Speed Railway is another project launched last year by King Salman — a high-tech, state-of-the-art 450km-line connecting five stations between Madinah and Makkah at 300km/hour.


“It is now being utilized by Muslims from all over the world, and since we inaugurated it, we have had above 90 percent utilization,” said Dr. Al-Rumaih. “It is almost full on every trip we add, which is very pleasant and shows our planning was in the right place.”
Once all stations open, he said that the line would represent the backbone of all transportation among the two holy cities, employing Saudi men and women to operate it. “The train driver was Saudi, and he was trained there,” he added.
Saudi’s North-South Line, which opened in 2017, added another 800km from the Al-Jawf region to Riyadh in November, introducing night trains with sleeping coaches as well — a first for the country.
Riyadh’s metro construction is also well under way, with plans for the Riyadh Development Authority to start staged operations and commissioning late this year. Spanning 176km serving 85 stations across six lines, cars are currently being tested.
Dr. Al-Rumaih said that there are plans to add more lines to the railway in the future, with a connection between Yanbar Industrial City and the King Abdullah Port by the Red Sea, as well as a 1,150km-land bridge linking the Kingdom’s east coast to its west coast.
The GCC rail project within Saudi will cover 628km of the Gulf’s railway plans, connecting the country to Bahrain. More than 200km of that track is being worked on, part of which has already been completed.
“We are working with GCC governments to plan the building of the remaining parts,” Dr. Al-Rumaih said. “These projects are operational, and they have to be localized — we are very committed to making sure they are being run by Saudis, and we are pushing to ensure the manufacturing is also being done in Saudi Arabia, or at least part of it, to gradually ensure we are localizing this industry for the region.”
For that, the Saudi Railway Polytechnic was established, based in Buraidah Al-Qassim, to train drivers, signal technicians, station customer service representatives and others who plan to work in such projects.
Across the GCC, the rate of mobility between citizens and residents alike has been on the rise, from 4.5 million in 2003 to an astounding 27 million in 2017. Trade also grew drastically from $6 billion dollars in 2003 to $133 billion in 2017.
“The GCC leadership has been keen on supporting efforts to work together in all domains, from mobility, education, health care and social services,” said Khalifa bin Saeed Al-Abri, assistant secretary general in Economic and Development Affairs at the GCC General Secretariat. “Transportation is one of most important sectors for GCC countries to be able to reach economic integration, because it facilitates the mobility of residents and citizens.”
As such, the Gulf is working on establishing a unified law for the transport of passengers and cargo. “Railway projects in the GCC will be of prominent importance in the transport sector and they will have a direct impact on easing trade and mobility between Gulf countries,” he said.
“They will boost investments and joint projects relevant to this sector, and we are relentless in our efforts to achieve this objective.”
In the UAE, 160km of railway has been built so far, starting from Al-Ruwais. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have so far completed the design of projects, with the establishment of a number of technical facilities. “We are now studying the expected number of passengers and cargo for the second phase of the project, which is to have a GCC Railway Authority,” Al-Abri said. “We will also involve the private sector, including small and medium enterprises, to ensure we have a very sustainable transportation sector. (They will help) the future of the region as they are focusing on providing solutions for the most prominent issues.”
Using innovation in the Gulf’s transport sector will prove crucial in facing challenges to cater to the population’s growing needs. “Smart transportation is a very important part of the region’s growth and development and for us to prepare for what is to come in the post-oil era,” said Ahmed Al-Khoury, director general of the UAE Federal Transport Authority. “We are looking to put our strategies in a holistic manner in the UAE and smart transportation will transform the country into a logistics hub, especially when linked with the railway once it is finalized.”
He spoke of the Emirates setting up a federal transportation law for new services, including smart transportation such as autonomous vehicles, to ensure safety and security. “The aim is to achieve sustainable development, and railway networks as well as the tram and all elements related to transportation will be a part of it,” he said.
“Public transport in the UAE is on the rise, and this will help lead to less violations and accidents. Autonomous vehicles are a reality right now, and it is very important we prepare for it. But yet, there are still many developing economies that are not able to face different challenges that all this entails, so the private sector will play a pivotal role in that regard to generate creativity and innovation.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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The automotive sector in Saudi Arabia

Time: March 02, 2019

  

The automotive industry is a key pillar of the global economy, a main driver of macroeconomic growth and technological advancement in developing and developed countries.
The value chain for the automotive industry is wide and covers many other adjacent industries and, hence, creates a multiplier effect much higher than any other industry.
Saudi Arabia is considered one of the largest automotive markets in the Middle East. Moreover, the addition of 3 million women drivers to the automotive market by 2020 will open a host of incremental opportunities for investors and industry participants, ranging from car sales to motor insurance, vehicle leasing and driving schools.
The government is seeking to develop a domestic automotive industry and has encouraged global vehicle manufacturers to establish local operations, in an effort to create jobs for the country’s growing youth population and facilitate the transfer of technology and skills.
Saudi Arabia is currently developing a car manufacturing city and working to incentivize investors to inject money into the industry. The Kingdom will also provide the required raw materials including aluminum, rubber, plastics and others at competitive prices. The Auto Cluster aims to attract Saudi and foreign investment, increase exports, provide job opportunities, and contribute to economic diversification as part of its 2030 Vision reform plan.
Saudi Arabia already has more than 8 million passenger vehicles in operation, and this will increase significantly in the coming years, with potentially 9 million new drivers added to the roads.
Saudi automotive dealers will be the first to benefit, along with banks and insurance companies that finance and underwrite new car purchases. Furthermore, the aftermarket comes next, when these additional cars require regular repair and maintenance, replacement parts, tires, batteries, accessories, car care and grooming.
According to Messe Frankfurt Middle East, Saudi Arabia is already the Gulf region’s largest auto aftermarket, with revenues from tires, batteries, lubricants and engine components and accessories valued at more than $7.1 billion in 2017. Early estimates had projected the market to be worth $8.9 billion by 2021. However, with the recent decree allowing women to drive this year, the figure will likely be much higher.
In spite of the temporary sales decline which has affected most Saudi luxury dealers, I believe that the Kingdom’s automotive sector is set for a rapid transformation in the coming years. Not only will the affordable mass market brands witness sales growth, but the 3 million female drivers expected to be added to the Kingdom’s roads by 2020 will also contribute.

Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the Chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.

This article was first published in Arab News

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GAC Motor opens largest Saudi service center

Time: February 04, 2019  

The opening event featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the launch of the GS7 SUV and the GM8 minivan.
Automaker GAC Motor has opened a new sales and service center in the heart of the automobile business district in Riyadh.
The 5,588-meter-square center, located on Makkah Al-Mukarramah Road, is the largest GAC Motor store among the four existing centers in the Kingdom and is operated by Aljomaih Automotive Company (AAC), the automaker’s exclusive dealer in Saudi Arabia. The three other sales and service centers are located in Jeddah and Dammam.
The opening ceremony featured the launch of the GS7 SUV and the GM8 minivan. The event was attended by over 100 VIP guests and members of the media.
Among the guests were Li Bei, office director at the Chinese Embassy; Chen Hanjun, vice president of GAC Group; Yu Jun, president of GAC Motor; Wang Shunsheng, vice president of GAC Motor International; and Sheikh Waleed, COO of AAC.
“The opening of the Riyadh sales and service center today and the launch of new vehicles is another milestone indicating GAC Motor’s retail channel arrangements in the three major cities of Saudi Arabia in full operation. We are committed to providing Saudi Arabian customers with an enjoyable mobile experience,” said President of GAC Motor Yu Jun.
GAC Motor’s partnership with AAC is of strategic significance in the Middle East. AAC has more than 50 years of sales and service experience in the region. GAC Motor signed a partnership agreement with AAC in 2018 to invest and build four sales and service centers, with the goal of making GAC Motor a mainstream automotive brand in Saudi Arabia in the next three to five years.
Sheikh Waleed, COO of AAC, said: “We have set a great goal and challenge to satisfy our customers in the Kingdom by providing services that are in line with the name and luxury of GAC cars.” He said he is confident that the quality of GAC Motor’s products will exceed the expectations of the consumers in the Saudi market.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Changan Eado, CS75 arrive in KSA showrooms

Time: February 04, 2019  

The new sedan car Eado 2019 is fitted with many advanced driving systems.

Almajdouie Motors, the authorized distributor for Changan cars in Saudi Arabia, has announced the arrival of Changan 2019 models — Eado and CS75 — in its showrooms across the Kingdom.

The new  Eado 2019 sedan is fitted with many advanced driving systems, including antilock brake system, emergency brake assist system, forewarning of front collision, smart cruise system, stability control system, hill-start assist control system and tire pressure monitoring system.

The Changan CS75 is a mid-size SUV featuring a stylish exterior design and has many sophisticated driving systems, including tire pressure monitoring system, antilock brake system, electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake assist system, a traction control system, vehicle stability control system, hill-start assist control, hill descent control, hydraulic brake assistant and other electronic systems.

Mohammed bin Ali Almajdouie, managing director of Almajdouie — Changan, said: “We’ve always been determined to meet the requirements and aspirations of our customers in Saudi Arabia, especially those looking for a unique and economical car. These modern models come within the general framework of our corporate strategy of providing the latest models to our clients, which are now available in all of our showrooms across the Kingdom.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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New Aston Martin facility inaugurated in Jeddah

Time: January 30, 2019

From right, Ali Alireza managing director of HHA; Raed Kayyal, Aston Martin Club manager; Dan Balmer, president Aston Martin Lagonda Middle East, North Africa and Turkey; and David King, Aston Martin vice president and chief special operations officer.

Hajji Husein Alireza & Co. Ltd. inaugurated its new Aston Martin showroom in Jeddah on Wednesday. The private reception was attended by Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, president of the Saudi Federation of Automobiles and Motorcycles; David King, Aston Martin vice president and chief special operations officer; Dan Balmer, president Aston Martin Lagonda Middle East, North Africa and Turkey; and a select group of customers and media representatives.

The 521-square-meter showroom, the third for Aston Martin in the Kingdom, is located on Tahlia Street and showcases a full lineup of the latest second-century Aston Martin models, including the DB11, Vantage and DBS Superleggera. It consists of a main showroom, an area dedicated to demo cars, a car delivery space, Q Lounge and a specialized configuration zone.

Sheikh Ali Hussein Alireza, managing director of Hajji Husein Alireza & Co. Ltd. said: “We have seen a vast increase in demand for luxury cars in Jeddah, which encouraged us to strengthen our presence here. This opening is a fitting testament to our commitment to Aston Martin and represents a new era for us in Saudi Arabia, offering a platform for us to solidify our standing as a leading car dealer in the Kingdom.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Rapid rise in number of women drivers

Time: January 27, 2019  

Saudi roads are witnessing a rapid increase in the number of women drivers six months after the decision allowing them to drive took effect.

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Six months after the decision to allow women driving took effect in Saudi Arabia, the number of females obtaining driving licenses are increasing rapidly.

According to information provided by the General Department of Traffic, the total number of licenses issued reached more than 40,000.

Most of the women interviewed by Al-Madina newspaper expressed their happiness over their driving experience and thanked the community for all-out support. They said there were very minor and isolated incidents where women faced harassment while driving, but the overall success of the experience eliminated all their fears.

Iman Kanani said her experience in driving was excellent. She is happy that now she can run her own errand without relying on a driver. “I managed to save a lot of money in wages of drivers. I managed to save huge amounts that I used to pay for private taxi. It reached hundreds of riyals in peak hours. I no longer need to recruit a driver from abroad paying a large amount of money, and then pay for his monthly salary and housing,” she said.

“Society accepted women driving but there are a few people who still do not accept the idea. I faced such situations where I was harassed on the road. But such people will not last in front of the very tough laws that are implemented to protect women,” Kanani said.

Nouf Al-Muhammadi, another Saudi woman, said she never faced any difficulty after she began driving. She said she was in desperate need to drive. “We live in a village near Khulais. We lack many services and I needed a car so I can run my errands especially in the morning when men in the family are at work and they are not available. Now that I am driving, I can do it myself,” she added.

Maha Abu Shaheen, a university student, said at first she was afraid of facing harassment on the street. But after she went through the experience, she found support on the street. “There are mothers who drive their children to school every day in the morning. I find people on the street who express their support when they see me driving. There are tough laws imposed to protect women drivers and they will leave no room for harassers,” said Shaheen.

Reham Al-Talhawi said she heard that women will be taken advantage of because of their lack of experience when it comes to cars, whether in sales or in maintenance, but reality showed that it was not true. “Our husbands have experience and they guide us when it comes to such issues. I personally did not face any situation where I was harassed or taken advantage of,” said Al-Talhawi.

Gen. Muhammad Al-Bassami, head of the traffic department, said more than 40,000 women received their driving licenses so far.

While speaking at a meeting of traffic department officials recently, he described women driving as a unique experience. He said there are 14 driving schools currently under construction.

Over 40,000 females obtained license in six months.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette

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LuLu awards 14 cars to Super Fest winners

Time: January 21, 2019

The handover ceremony was held consecutively in three regions in Riyadh, Alkhobar and Jeddah.
LuLu has awarded 14 winners of its grand raffle giveaway a Jeep Compass each, as part of its recently held annual anniversary celebrations. Along with the car prizes, LuLu gift vouchers worth SR50,000 ($13,326) were awarded to 50 lucky customers with each having received SR1,000. The handover ceremony was held consecutively in three regions — Riyadh, Alkhobar and Jeddah.
LuLu Commercial Manager for Saudi Arabia Adeeb Ali Al-Qarni said: “We are extremely glad about the success of LuLu Super Fest, which has brought not only fun and excitement but most importantly the perfect time to give something extra special to our loyal customer base, coinciding with our ninth year celebration of serving the people of the Kingdom as a conducive shopping destination. Moreover, our newly launched #LiveDeals, which featured an on-the-spot ‘Guess & Win’ contest, received a great response as well. We are excited to unveil more enjoyable events in the coming months.”
LuLu Super Fest showcased a number of product offers and exciting in-store activities.
“With over 150 stores operating worldwide, LuLu has always been committed to offering the highest quality products from around the world, along with a great shopping experience through monthly festivals and special events,” the hypermarket chain said in a press release.
It added: “LuLu has continuously been exerting its efforts to provide and sustain the supply of global products at the best rates. With the excellent combination of high-quality offerings and organized logistics system, LuLu remains to be the favorite shopping destination in Saudi Arabia when it comes to a broader selection of international products.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi women dominate at motor racing event in Dirab

Time: January 21, 2019

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Saudi Arabian women dominated the first round of the women’s SWS-SPRINT Championship in Dirab. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian women dominated the first round of the women’s SWS-SPRINT Championship, which is organized by the FunXtreme Racing Circuit in Dirab for motorcars and motorcycles.
It is sponsored by the Saudi Federation of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles at the SWS World Championship.
The second round saw the participation of a number of Saudi, Gulf and Arab women drivers, who fought it out for the title until the final meters of the race to become the winner.
Yasmin Madani finished first with 0.09 ppm, Amjad Al-Omari came in second place and Princess Madawi Al-Saud took third place.
Sarah Al-Harthi, Director of the Women’s Race Program at FunXtreme circuit, praised the impressive levels of the first and second rounds of the women’s competitions, stressing that they are no less exciting than the other categories/groups, especially since it is being held for the first time in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Harthi expressed her deep satisfaction with the excellent professional level of the tour.
She also praised the increasing media interest in women’s races, which reflects the positive interaction of the media and its role in enhancing the participation of Saudi women in all fields.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Samaco–Audi posts record sales in 2018

Time: January 20, 2019  

Audi sales grow more that 26% in 2018

SAMACO Automotive Company, the exclusive dealer for Audi cars in Saudi Arabia, announced sales growth of more that 26% in 2018 and asserted their sales volume superiority for a second year in a row, together with a growth in market share for luxury cars, and a record number of introductions of new Audi models in Saudi Arabia.

The brand with the Four Rings, managed to surpass 2017 sales figures in each of the three main markets of Saudi Arabia, the capital Riyadh, Jeddah and in the Eastern region.

In this context, the Kerem Tas, General Manager of the Audi brand in SAMACO Automotive, said: ”Despite great market challenges, we were able to achieve positive growth in all of our major markets for 2018 with new sales records. This was achieved through the arrival of major all-new models at our centers, including the Audi Q8 and Audi A8L and the growing demand for premium Audi models. The new opportunity for women to drive in the Kingdom was another important factor and we are proud to announce that our female customers accounted for 27% of our total sales last year”

“2018 was a perfect year for Audi in the Kingdom, where we expanded our centers, enhanced our after sales services, introduced new models and were able to actively participate in the first “Formula E” race, which was held in Al Diriyah governorate. All of these positive elements contributed and added value to the Audi brand, which we hope will keep rising in 2019.” Kerem Tas noted.

Samaco-Audi aims to increase sales in 2019 with the arrival of new models, most importantly the all-new Audi A6 and A7. These will be joined by the first all electric Audi model “e-tron” in the concluding quarter of this year, which will mark a significant step for the Samaco Automotive company and Audi brand in the new future of Saudi Arabia and aligns with the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette

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