Laila Al Amri

Laila Al Amri

Journalist

Saudi private sector’s multi-billion dollar head start on female drivers

Saudi Arabia’s lift on its enduring ban on female drivers is a historic moment. For the Kingdom’s private sector, it also makes for very lucrative business. No sooner had the ban lift come into effect on June 24 that automotive brands and private companies flocked to Saudi roads with ad campaigns, encouraging women to drive in a race to connect with their future consumers; the first and most direct impact the ban lift was forecast to have on the revival and diversification of the Saudi economy.

In effect, Bloomberg forecasts the ban lift to add 90 billion dollars annually to Saudi Arabia’s GDP by 2030. It is no surprise, then, that corporates of all sizes had launched a spate of campaigns in light of Saudi Arabia’s decision allowing women to drive, highlighting the benefits of unrestricted mobility on their daily lives. The money was well spent, with some of these campaigns considerably raising awareness and consideration among Saudi women for brands they had very little interest in historically.

Examples are ample. ALJ (Abdul latif Jameel Motors), the exclusive parent company for Toyota in the Saudi market, offered 500 cars to women’s driving and traffic management schools in a clear statement of its support to female drivers. Lexus featured in a video that showed women the larger role of mobility in their lives. Hyundai Wallan, the official dealer for the automotive  brand in the Kingdom, launched a countdown campaign under the tagline “Take Off Safely” for a number of days, encouraging Saudi women to freely and confidently drive on Saudi roads.

Others, such as Riyadh’s Narcissus hotel and flower shop chain Golden Petals launched limited-time offers and complimentary services for women who would drive to their premises.

Saudi automotive services company SASCO also joined in on the action, launching a Twitter campaign supporting female drivers, and introducing them to automotive jargon and slogan – with a viral video to match.

V Kool, the world's leading automotive thermal insulation and vehicle care specialist, also published a series of infographics helping women navigate car parts, elements and functions.

Chevrolet Saudi Arabia called on intending female drivers to share their photos with the hashtag “#UptoMe” in a social competition.

Apps were also present in the mass communication stunts; car rental app Karwa revealed that it will be making a surprise move for Saudi women on the roads on June 24, affirming that this move would be a first-time event for the Middle East region. Walaa Cooperative Insurance Company offered Saudi female drivers tips for road safety and hazard control – unsurprisingly, gaining traction with the Saudi Twittersphere.

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