By Kalyana Sivagnanam
Sustainable mobility in the region will gain tremendous momentum this coming year
In the past year, Nissan has continued its upward trajectory in the Middle East, growing in terms of sales, market share, customer satisfaction and brand power. 2019 is set to be an exciting year for Nissan, as we look to build on the growth achieved in the previous financial year and continue to shape the future of mobility.
In terms of sales, SUVs will continue to be attractive options, demonstrating their enduring popularity to people in the region. In Nissan’s Financial Year 17 (April 2017 – March 2018), market share of the Nissan Patrol range increased by 11.4 percent compared to the previous year, and the Patrol became the best-selling full-size SUV in the UAE.
That being said, we are also anticipating a growth in sales of smaller and more fuel-efficient options such as the Nissan Patrol V6 or Nissan Kicks. Rising fuel prices and increased awareness about the economic and environmental advantages of fuel-efficient vehicles will drive this change among consumers. We are also working with emerging technologies to improve our range’s eco-friendly credentials.
Sustainable mobility is gaining tremendous momentum
Indeed, the concept of sustainable mobility is gaining tremendous momentum in the UAE, and we see it as one of the key focuses for the automotive industry n 2019. The UAE Vision 2021 aims to make Dubai a smart, integrated, and connected city, one that is fully sustainable with its resources and clean environmental components. Similarly, a federal mandate that states 10 percent of investments in new vehicles will cover electric and hybrid cars by 2020, will greatly help in encouraging consumers to make the shift to more environmentally-friendly methods of transportation.
The UAE government deserves full credit for its support towards electric vehicles, which was outlined in a strategic roadmap to greener roads in late 2017. Incentives include free public charging stations in Dubai until the end of 2019, complimentary parking spots, exemption from congestion charges and a waiver on registration and renewal fees.
The UAE’s focus on intelligent and sustainable transport solutions mirrors the aims and the manifesto of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility Strategy. Launched in 2016, the global strategy defines the way cars are powered, driven and integrated into society. The Nissan LEAF is now the world’s best-selling electric vehicle with over 372,000 cars having been sold to date.
The importance of technology as a social equaliser will be a focus in 2019
The coming year will also see the countdown to Expo 2020 Dubai start to really gain momentum. In 2017 Nissan was announced as the official automotive partner of the event. Our aim is that our involvement in Expo 2020 will also help accelerate the electrification of mobility in the Middle East region.
Moreover, the importance of technology as a social equaliser will be a focus in 2019, as the UAE gears up to host the Special Olympics, the biggest sporting and humanitarian event of the year. Historically, access to appropriate transportation and new technologies have been vital in providing autonomy and independent mobility for People of Determination. We are confident that the 2019 Special Olympics will bring heightened awareness across the world, of how technology can be used to ‘level the playing field’.
With the pace of technological change accelerating, and autonomous driving beginning to become a reality, we believe that the next few years will be pivotal in helping Nissan and the wider automotive industry redefine the future of global mobility.