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Sun 11 Mar 2018 06:03 PM

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Saudi women to transform kingdom's automotive industry

Car sales are expected to grow 9 percent a year until 2025

Saudi women to transform kingdom's automotive industry
A Saudi woman has a driving lesson in Jeddah on March 7, 2018. Photo: AMER HILABI/AFP/Getty Images.

Twenty percent of Saudi women – about three million - will drive by 2020, according to a new report from PwC Middle East.

According to the report, entitled “Women driving the transformation of KSA automotive market”, the kingdom’s royal decree that allowed women to drive from June 2018 will create new job opportunities for Saudi nationals. It will also lead to incremental new capital investment in infrastructure, increase insurance revenue, and be the catalyst for the creation of new, women-only driving schools.

“Saudi women have been behind numerous achievements and now visibly behind the wheel,” said Hala Kudwah, PwC Saudi Arabia financial services and consulting leader.

“When considering the scale of the market, our analysis tells us that there’s an opportunity to increase the number of driving institutions in the kingdom by over 50 percent, an increase that will be translated into job opportunities for our females.”

The report noted that female drivers will also have a significant impact on areas ranging from car sales to motor insurance.

Car sales, for example, are expected to grow by 9 percent each year until 2025 due to the demands of the new female customer segment, while the annual growth rate for car leasing is expected to have an annual growth rate of 4 percent between 2017 and 2025.

Additionally, the motor insurance market is expected to grow 9 percent annually to reach SR 30 billion ($8 billion) in 2020.

"There would be dependencies such as necessary infrastructure and services to support female drivers; for example, women driving instructors, driving schools, licenses issuance, etc,” Kudwah added.

“However we are mindful of the significance of early successes to fully reap the fruits of this milestone in the women empowerment journey.”

Laurent Depolla, PwC Middle East’s partner, deals strategy and preparations, noted that the forecast of the kingdom’s automotive market presents “an array of opportunities for market players and investors.”