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Hyundai Gears Up For Saudi Women Drivers

Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Hyundai has launched a task force to suit the tastes of Saudi female drivers, whose number is estimated to increase to 22 million over the next three years.

Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

For Hyundai Motor, the world's fifth largest automaker affiliated with its sister firm Kia, Saudi Arabia's decision to allow women to drive is a golden opportunity to see a turnaround in their global sales, especially in the slumping Middle Eastern markets.

Hyundai's sales to the Middle Eastern nations plummeted by 35 percent over the past three years with its export volume to Saudi Arabia shrinking by 40 percent amid freefalling oil prices that have constrained the economy and consumer spending in the region.

"Saudi Arabia in particular is the largest automotive market in the region," Mike Song, head of Hyundai's Africa and the Middle East regional headquarters, told Arab News. "With female drivers opening up a new era and changing the market landscape, we expect this historical moment to provide another opportunity to better serve the customers in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East as a whole."

In bids to boost sales, Hyundai plans to release its new compact SUV Kona in Saudi Arabia soon.

"The Kona will be released as early as next month in Saudi Arabia and its sales will be expanded across the region," a Hyundai spokesman said.

Hyundai has launched a task force to suit the tastes of Saudi female drivers, whose number is estimated to increase to 22 million over the next three years.

The task force is composed of nine members, all women, chosen from different departments of sales, marketing, design, customer service, and product development.

The team is responsible for coming up with tailor-made marketing strategies to woo female customers in Saudi Arabia through on-spot market research and studies of local cultures, laws and other issues for a year.

"Saudi Arabia is a new market with millions of new women customers, but we don't want to approach the market in a hasty or aggressive manner," Hyundai Motor's creative team manager Kim Ju-mi, who leads the task force for Saudi women drivers, said in a phone interview.

"Our goal is to learn, understand and study Saudi's unique and delicate cultural aspects in a careful and steady manner, and reflect them to our products and services to satisfy the needs of Saudi women customers."

The task force is actively engaged in marketing campaigns through social media.

At the suggestion of a Saudi task force member, the company last month invited three Saudi Arabian female influencers, including entrepreneur and lifestyle influencer Bayan Linjawi, as the car maker's brand ambassador.

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