Automakers Celebrate Lifting Of Ban On Women Drivers In Saudi Arabia
We knew it was coming sooner than later. Now that the women of Saudi Arabia are all set to be allowed to drive, automakers from all over the world have been quick to react to the ground-breaking news, celebrating the development on the social media with hashtags #SaudiWomenMove and #SaudiWomenCanDrive.
Ford, Volkswagen, and Nissan were the first automakers to post their congratulations and promote themselves to the women of Saudi Arabia, getting the word out early that they’re ready to welcome women drivers into the driver’s seat for the first time in the history of the Middle Eastern country. The quick response to the living of the driving ban was a smart move, particularly because of the business potential that it offers for a lot of these companies. Data gathered by The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association revealed that Saudi Arabia is the largest importer of vehicles and parts in the entire Middle East region. At the same time, data from LMC Automotive pointed to Saudi Arabia as the 21st biggest automotive market in the world, a figure that could go up with the potential of having more customers by virtue of lifting the ban. In total, Merrill Lynch estimates that as many as nine million potential new drivers could be in the hunt for new cars in Saudi Arabia, including 2.7 million resident non-Saudi women. With all these numbers being thrown out, it’s no wonder that companies like Ford, Volkswagen, and Nissan were quick to roll out the carpet for Saudi women. It’s going to be great for business!
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Remember the stunt Ford Motor Company pulled with the 2015 Mustang debut for the 2014 New York Auto Show? The automaker put a Mustang atop the Empire State building, having hauled it up the elevators in pieces and assembling the non-working car in place. Well Ford has repeated the high-altitude Mustang reveal atop the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, located in Dubai.
The festivities took place in celebration of Ford’s establishment of its new Middle East and Africa headquarters and expansion in the 67 markets there. The automaker is expecting those markets to grow some 40 percent to 5.5 million vehicles by 2020.
Supply for the anticipated demand will be met with 25 promised new vehicle launches in the region by 2016, including the Mustang.
The high-flying event was broadcast live on YouTube for viewers around the world and on large screens in the Dubai downtown area encircling the Dubai Fountain and the Burj Khalif. The time laps video above shows the insane height of the skyscraper. The Mustang build took place on an observation deck on the 112th floor, some 1,300 feet above the ground.
Click past the jump for more on the Dubai release and Mustang