As June 24 approaches, the official date when women can begin driving in Saudi Arabia following a decades-long on female motorists, banks and car dealerships across the Kingdom are offering deals to help women get their dream – and for many, first – car.
Banks have now launched new bundles and installment terms to expedite the process of buying a car. In addition, car dealers have jumped on the opportunity to benefit from this new lucrative market, offering a range of discounts, benefits, and services as part of Ramadan bundles. Some dealers are even offering free maintenance for the first three years and discounts on purchases.
Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Ahmad Hassan, a salesman at a car dealership, explained that many women began saving up as soon as the royal decree rescinding the driving ban was announced last year.
“Some women even took loans from the bank. Women who are employed usually opt for paying for the car in installments. We also see a lot of newlywed couples frequenting our exhibitions. The husband wants to buy a car as a gift for his wife,” said Hassan.
Big auto companies have already increased their advertising and marketing efforts in order to draw the Kingdom’s women to their brand. Toyota, for instance, will dedicate sections of its showrooms to women, staffing these zones with all-female sales team, while General Motors recently promoted a Saudi-born female advertising executive to chief copywriter in order to help with crafting more culturally sensitive and relevant adverts and campaigns.
Other efforts have been made to make the transition easier for women in Saudi Arabia, such as the opening of the Kingdom’s first car showroom aimed at women in Le Mall, Jeddah and the recent announcement that women in Saudi Arabia who have a foreign or international driving license recognized by the Kingdom will be exempted from the driving test for beginners.
Earlier this year, when the website for Saudi Arabia’s first driving school for women – set up at an all-women’s university in Riyadh – opened for online registration, more than 165,000 applicants registered in a period of just 3 days, according to Financial Times.