Ford: ‘We expect bright future for Saudi Arabia with Vision 2030’
ARAB NEWS - Sun, Dec 18th 2016 12:00 AM
Ford: ‘We expect bright future for Saudi Arabia with Vision 2030’
LONDON: Jacques Brent, president, Ford Middle East and Africa, confirmed in an exclusive interview with Arab News that Saudi Arabia is Ford’s largest market in the region.
He said that he sees “bright future for the Kingdom” with “Saudi Vision 2030.” The company has a dedicated team serving Saudi Arabia from Riyadh.
Ford is active in the fields of shared mobility and alternative fuels and is involved in many safety and charitable initiatives in the region.
It serves the region and Africa from a unique business unit it has established in Dubai two years ago.
These are highlights from the interview:
How is Ford’s Middle East and Africa Business Unit performing in comparison to Ford’s other global regions? And how did this new organization benefit the Middle East region?
Middle East and Africa is Ford Motor Company’s newest business unit that serves one of the youngest and most diverse markets.
We have been operating out of the Dubai regional headquarters for two years, serving a region that presents various challenges, but also a lot of opportunities for growth. Despite challenges faced by the industry, our market share, in markets where we participate, is up six-tenth of a percentage point compared to prior year and we remain committed to offering best-in-class products and services to our customers.
The establishment of the MEA business unit allows us to have more focus on the region with a larger team to support our local partners.
Which Ford Models are best sellers in the ME region and how is Ford performing during first half of 2016 compared to first half of 2015?

Our top selling models in the Middle East are Taurus, Explorer, Expedition and F-150.
As you are aware the industry overall has been witnessing considerable headwinds this year, and despite these challenges we have continued to work closely with our dealers in order to deliver the plan. Currently, our market share in the Middle East is consistent with our target despite an estimated decrease of over 20% in the industry overall.
How do you see the impact of the drop in oil prices on sales in the region and how is Ford coping with that?
The drop in oil prices has certainly affected the region’s economies and the automotive industry overall has had its share of the headwinds.
We remain focused on the business and work with our dealer partners to deliver what our customer wants in terms of high quality products and the value for money that comes with it. And we are seeing the results of our hard work as our share in the markets where we operate has grown.
How important is the Saudi market for Ford within the context of regional ME markets?
Saudi Arabia is a very important market for Ford. It is our largest market in the Middle East in fact.
This is why we have a dedicated team in our regional office in Riyadh to serve the kingdom and work closely with our importer-dealer Al-Jazirah Vehicles Agencies Co. to deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction from the sales and service perspectives. We are committed to the Saudi market and have every confidence in its potential.
One of the most significant announcements in the region was the revelation of “Saudi Vision 2030” would the diversification of the Saudi economy have implications for Ford?
Saudi Arabia is right at the crossroads of important international trade routes, between three continents: Asia, Europe and Africa. Certainly, its geographical position contributes to boosting productivity and improving the business environment.
With Saudi Vision 2030 we see a bright future for the kingdom and we trust that the diversification of its economy will reap positive outcomes for all industries.
“Saudi Vision 2030” gave further incentives for investment in Saudi Arabia, would Ford be interested in setting up some local manufacturing operations?
We see great potential in the kingdom but cannot speculate on any investments at the moment.
Has Ford implemented any new concepts in the region to do with shared mobility or alternative fuels?
Ford is a leader in mobility solutions globally, and this naturally translates into the region as one of our strategic priorities. We have a host of mobility experiments currently in place in South Africa and earlier this year we conducted our first Ford’s Innovate Mobility Challenge in North Africa, focusing on the culture of shared taxi rides in Morocco, and how best to make the experience more efficient and beneficial for all.
On alternative fuels, Ford remains committed to deliver what our customer wants. Currently, we offer our award winning EcoBoost engine technology on almost every Ford and Lincoln vehicle.
EcoBoost delivers high fuel efficiencies and the performance and power that our customers expect.
What initiatives is Ford active in the region such as road safety or charity ideas?
We take community relations and corporate social responsibility very seriously. We initiated in 2013 “Driving Skills for Life” program which aims to educate students about the best safe driving practices.
Another program since 1993 is “Warriors in Pink” a program starting in 2011 that helps thousands of patients, survivors and co-survivors affected by Breast Cancer each year. Also, “Ford Conservation and Environmental Grants program” is one of the largest corporate initiatives of its kind in the region, created to empower individuals and non-profit groups to preserve the environmental.
In its 16th year, the Ford Grants initiative has helped 194 projects with total grants amounting to $1.5 million
“The Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy” is another initiative we piloted with the Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Business in Morocco earlier this year, giving local entrepreneurs the chance to develop their ideas and discuss them with industry leaders and experts.
What do consumers in the region want from Ford vehicles and how is the company responding to that?
The customer base in the region is incredibly diverse, and we’re ensuring that we offer car-buyers the choice they want in terms of vehicle size and capability, fuel economy, and power and performance.
Whether it’s a large family that needs the room and capability of an Expedition, a first-time car buyer looking for performance and technology in the Fusion, a tradesman looking for the utility and capability of Ranger or F-150, or a buyer looking for the quiet luxury found in Lincoln vehicles — we have the marketplace covered.
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