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Tue 5 Feb 2019 09:08 AM

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Saudi Arabia is extremely important for us: Aston Martin boss

New showroom in the heart of Saudi Arabia spells brand's plans for the Middle East

Saudi Arabia is extremely important for us: Aston Martin boss

Saudi Arabia will play centre stage in Aston Martin’s plans to boost its appeal in the Middle East over the next few years, according to the luxury British marque’s regional chief.

The carmaker last week inaugurated its third showroom in the coastal city of Jeddah at a ceremony attended by Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al Faisal, President of the Saudi Federation of Automobiles and Motorcycles.

Opening the showroom is in response to forecasts that suggest an imminent surge in demand for luxury cars in the country, according to Dan Balmer, president of Aston Martin Lagonda Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

"With women starting to drive, Saudi Arabia is an important market for Aston Martin, especially with our exciting line-up of second-century models,” he said.

“This new showroom should see the brand grow in the Kingdom,” he added.

Aston Martin recently reorganised its regional division to span the Arab World, North Africa and Turkey. The division recently moved its headquarters from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, which Balmer told Arab News was because Dubai’s reputation for flash glamour was “a thing of the past.”

“Saudi Arabia has more opportunity for us. Because of the sheer weight of wealthy individuals it means there are more people who will buy our cars there. Saudi Arabia is big on collectors’ cars, like our Vulcan, and the other beautiful cars we produce like Vanquish and DBS. But we need to grow the brand,” he said.

Aston Martin’s new 521 square metre showroom in Jeddah showcases a full line-up of Aston Martin models, including the DB11, Vantage, DBS Superleggera, as well as a Rapide E, Aston Martin’s first electric battery vehicle recognised as the world’s first electric four-door luxury grand tourer.

Later this year, the brand is expected to reveal its first luxury SUV, currently referred to as DBX, which Balmer is hoping will be a popular with Middle East audiences once it arrives in the region.

In the Middle East and Saudi Arabia in particular, “a majority of luxury car buyers would be SUV buyers,” according to Balmer.

“We need to do an education job in Saudi Arabia, both in terms of what Aston stands for in the market and the new products as well. I think Saudis will go for the idea of DBX, and that’s where the key focus will be for us,” Balmer added.

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