Saudi Arabia Emerging as Regional Auto Hub
USSABC to Promote Saudi Auto Industry at Michigan Conference
The U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council (USSABC) is hosting a conference, titled "Saudi Arabia: New Auto Market Hub for the Middle East, Africa,and South Asia," in Birmingham, Michigan on June 26, 2013. The program will bring together senior Saudi Government officials, major Saudi industrialists, and leading OEMs to highlight the advantages of doing business in the Middle East's largest car market.
The Saudi Government has taken a number of steps to build an automotive cluster in the country. Isuzu of Japan is already assembling light trucks in Saudi Arabia and Jaguar/Land Rover has recently signed a letter of intent to build a manufacturing plant as well. Low energy costs, a pro-business environment, and the availability of raw material inputs for vehicle "lightweighting" are drawing the attention of OEMs and automotive component suppliers worldwide. Reducing vehicle weight to meet rising fuel efficiency targets is a priority among most auto manufacturers. Lightweight plastics and aluminum are key material inputs for this effort. Saudi Arabia is home to the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), a world leader in automotive plastics technology, and also boasts one of the world's largest integrated aluminum production facilities, a joint venture of Alcoa and Ma'aden, Saudi Arabia's leading mining corporation.
Rising auto sales in Saudi Arabia and other emerging markets in the region has also put the country on the map for OEMs looking to tap into new growth opportunities. Saudi Arabia's vehicle sales totaled 759,000 in 2011 and are expected to pass the 1 million per year mark by 2018. The country also has tariff free access to the 1.2 million annual auto market of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations and has rapid access to more than 400 million consumers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The powerhouse market of South Asia - approximately one-fifth of the world's consumers - is within easy reach by air and sea.
Confirmed speakers for the event include H.E. Dr. Tawfig Alrabiah, Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry; Eng. Mohamed Al-Mady, Saudi Arabian Co-Chairman of the USSABC and Vice Chairman and CEO of SABIC; Mr. Peter Robertson, U.S. Co-Chairman of the USSABC and former Vice Chairman of Chevron Corporation; and Eng. Azzam Shalabi, President, National Industrial Clusters Development Program. Invited speakers include representatives from the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, General Motors, Isuzu, and Land Rover.
The conference will take place from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan. For more information and to register for the conference, please visit www.us-sabc.org/autoconference.
About the USSABC
The U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council (USSABC) was established in December 1993 to improve the mutual knowledge and understanding between the private sectors of the U.S and Saudi Arabia and to promote and facilitate increased trade and investment between the two countries. The USSABC has built a membership base of approximately 400 leading companies in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and serves as the central source of information and assistance for companies that want to pursue specific business activities in Saudi Arabia. The USSABC organizes conferences and seminars in both countries to promote dialogue between the two private sectors, as well as trade and investment missions that provide networking opportunities for U.S. and Saudi companies. For more information on the Business Council, please visit www.us-sabc.org.