Over 80% of Saudi women said to apply for driving licences

Survey also shows that would-be drivers intend to reduce reliance on taxis, Uber after June 2018
(FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Sat 14 Oct 2017 12:35 AM

More than 80 percent of Saudi women are likely to try to get their driving licence following last month's decree to overturn the ban from June 2018, according to a new survey.

Research agency Kantar TNS, in partnership with online panel providers Kantar MobiworkX and Borderless Access, said its poll also showed that key reasons for applying were to drive to work, ferrying children around and to shop more.

An overwhelming majority of would-be drivers (92 percent) are expected to reduce their reliance on taxis and services such as Uber as a result.

The study highlighted that the sentiment about the lifting of the ban is overall positive, with most males supporting the change.

The biggest emotions expressed by women were related to the feeling that society was progressing the right way (61 percent), a sense of empowerment (55 percent) and enhanced career opportunities (46 percent).

The poll comes as Saudi police have penalised a woman filmed driving a car ahead of the lifting of the ban,.

Authorities summoned the woman and booked her for flouting traffic regulations after she appeared in a video driving out of a luxury hotel in the capital Riyadh.

The Gulf kingdom was the only country in the world to bar women from taking the wheel, a ban seen globally as a symbol of repression.

Neal Henriques, regional automotive director for Kantar, said: “This historic decision by the Saudi government changes the automotive landscape in the kingdom and will present long term economic benefits beyond the automotive industry.

"Marketers who want to be ahead of the game need to gain a deep understanding of the needs and drivers that will affect female purchase decisions and tailor their offerings accordingly to capitalize on the new opportunity. 

"Our initial research also indicates that the path to purchase will be far from uniform, thereby giving informed marketers an edge over the competition."

Kantar said the top 5 brands that women aspire to buy are Toyota, Hyundai, Ford and Nissan with BMW being the aspirational brand in the premium segment.

It added that dealers over time may need to revamp their sales and after sales process to cater to the needs to female buyers and relook at their communication strategies keeping this audience in mind.

Commenting on the changes, Nissan Middle East CMO Fadi Ghosn said: “We expect to see growth in the medium passenger cars and medium SUV segment as female drivers seek a combination of space, practicality and convenience. There might also be vehicle shifts within the household with existing vehicles being given to family members and new ones purchased.”

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Last Updated: Sat 14 Oct 2017 12:37 AM GST

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