While General Motors Corporation and other United States car manufacturers may report weak results in the first quarter of the year following a slowdown in the US economy, General Motors Middle East is expecting its business to grow in the region, according to the company’s top executive.
“The US slowdown does not impact us at all in terms of our global business. In fact, spending has increased . The amount of resourcing and funding that we get from the Middle East has gone up. The message is clear that now we have to win emerging markets such as China, India and the Middle East,” Terry Johnsson, President of General Motors-Middle East operations, told Emirates Business.
General Motors recorded sales of 32,440 units in the first three months of the year in the Middle East, up six per cent over the same period last year, driven by the full-size SUVs (sports utility vehicles), it said on Tuesday.
“This has been our record first quarter performance. And we are not expecting sales to slow down unless the market slows down and we do not see the market slowing down,” said Johnnson.
The UAE recorded a 35 per cent growth in sales in the first three months of the year having sold 5,642 units, led by Chevrolet and GMC full-size SUVs.
In the UAE, while GMC sales increased by 110 per cent, Chevrolet went up by 17 per cent and GM premium brands recorded a rise of 54 per cent, said the company.
In comparison to the same period a year ago, Oman led the way for GM with sales up by 38 per cent to 905 units, followed closely by Kuwait up 37 per cent to 4,113 units, and Bahrain up 34 per cent.
The Levant countries of Lebanon, Jordan and Syria also recorded 27 per cent increase in sales to 1,389. GM’s biggest market, Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, shifted 17,580 units, while Qatar registered a figure of 1,753. Sales in Iraq, too, jumped 42 per cent, the company said.
GM plans to take on Toyota in a big way with the support of the falling US dollar, said Terry Johnsson.
“We have already gained an edge over all but one in this market. And the currency advantage should absolutely help. Even though we may not be able to enjoy the market share currently enjoyed by Toyota but the affordability of GM cars should increase manifold,” said Johnsson, claiming a 14 per cent market share for GM in the whole of Middle East.
“Gap between GM and Toyota in many markets is still very significant but we plan to overtake them segment by segment,” he added.
GM sees strong drive in region