Saudis import $700 million worth of Australian cars a year
Automobile exports from Australia to the Arab Gulf region increased by 41 percent during the financial year 1999/2000, making the region the main export destination for Australian made cars. Vehicles worth over $700 million were exported to Saudi Arabia alone, according to an Austrade market report. Of the cars assembled in Australia, SR 1.7 billion ($453 million) worth were sold throughout the Kingdom during 2000.
Australia controls more than 12 percent of the Toyota and Ford automobile sales in Saudi Arabia, valued at 1.9 billion Saudi riyals ($506 million). The commercial attaché in the Australian embassy of Riyadh, Damian Fischer, asserted that the Australian share in the market would reach 14 percent by next year, according to Al-Watan.
The Saudi market imports various types of vehicles from all over the world but the three main sources of passenger cars are actually the USA, Japan and South Korea. The Camry from Toyota, made in Australia, has been imported to the Kingdom since the beginning of 1997.
Toyota’s Altona plant in Melbourne has announced it had exported the 100,000th Camry car to Saudi Arabia in June, six years after exports began. The vehicles are shipped from the Port of Melbourne to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia via Singapore.
Muhammad Jamil, chief executive officer of the ALJ Group, Toyota’s largest independent distributor, proclaimed the Camry as the top selling passenger vehicle in Saudi Arabia. In 2000, over 16,500 cars from Toyota Australia had been delivered to Saudi Arabia, said Jamil, adding that he expects deliveries to reach around 41,000 by the end of this year.
The Middle East is Toyota Australia’s largest export destination. Left-hand drive Camry’s are shipped to seven countries in the region—Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Yemen.
The value of total exchanges between Australia and Saudi Arabia totaled SR 5.7 billion ($1.5 billion) in 2000. This figure included $736 million in Saudi exports to Australia and $823 million worth of Australian exports to Saudi Arabia. — (MENA Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)