Women are driving a spectacular market recovery in Saudi Arabia: +37.8% in Q3.
The arrival of female drivers on the Saudi new light vehicle market continues to spectacularly boost sales, with the surge even accelerating over Q3 to +37.8% year-on-year at 134.582 units, lifting the year-to-date volume up 27.7% to 368.480. However according to our Saudi correspondent Hasan Kutbi, founder of the website ArabianDrive.com, the surge cannot at 100% be attributed to women, as only about 30.000 have so far gained their first driver’s licence and an additional 120.000 are on the waiting list to start courses in the few female driver schools opened in the country. If anything, it’s in 2020 that we should start to see the full-blown impact of women on the Saudi market, which is a very encouraging prospect. This year, the country’s economic recovery and the arrival of superior value-for-money propositions by Chinese brands such as Changan and Haval (the latter not disclosing KSA sales yet) have also propped the market. I will add that intensified marketing activity has also nudged customers to purchase, even if the car is for example a present to a wife awaiting to get her license.
Toyota (+38%) matches the market growth and cements its domination on the Saudi brands ranking at 30.2% share vs. 27% YTD, distancing Nissan (+30.9%) a little light at 23.4% while Mazda (+130.1%) powers ahead at 7.8% share in third place. Mitsubishi (+87.5%) also outpaces the market inside the Top 10 while Kia (+37.3%) and Nissan (+33.4%) can’t quite match it. Newcomer Changan is an astonishing success, securing 3.3% share in Q3, one percentage point above its YTD level, less than a year after landing in Saudi Arabia. Below, Suzuki (+181.3%), MG (+97.2%) – another two outstanding value-for-money brands – and Cadillac (+87.8%) impress.
The Saudi models ranking now skews towards smaller sedans, with the Hyundai Accent (+49.2%) and Elantra (+86.4%) in the overall lead both in Q3 and YTD, toppling the Toyota Camry (+48.9%) and Hilux (+5.4%) which were #1 and #2 in 2018. The Toyota Yaris (+95.5%) and Corolla (+67.8%) round up the Top 6 ahead of the Mazda6 (+110.2%) in tremendous shape, with the Hyundai Sonata (-35.3%) and Nissan Sunny (+52.8%) also finding their way into the Top 10. Notice also the Mazda CX-9 (+472.8%) ending the quarter just outside the Top 10, the Mitsubishi Attrage (+133.9%) at #12, the Chevrolet Spark (+15.8%) at #15, and the most popular new launch, the China-made Kia Pegas small sedan landing directly at #20 in Q3 with 1% market share. It distances the Changan CS75 (#22), Hyundai Kona (#24), Changan Eado (#27) and Changan CS35 (#28).
Full Q3 and YTD 2019 Top 32 All-brands and Top 150 models below.