With Saudi Arabia continuously the dominant car market in the Middle East, different car brands definitely have a lot of space to fill for getting a share – a reasonable percentage of the high-yielding market. The helmsman creativity and mantle of leadership are put to test in this situation.
And for Torsten Müller-Ötvös*, the die is cast. As Chief Executive Officer at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. since March 2010 and with The BMW Group for more than 20 years, the relaunch of the MINI brand and internationally re-establishing it as the first premium small car brand has already a predictable ending — a successful return of the brand in a competitive market.
In an interview, anchored on the success, Müller-Ötvös disclosed future expansion plans.
Excerpts of the interview follow:
Q. Speaking of Saudi Arabia, how important is this market compared to others in the GCC and Middle East?
A. Well, obviously the Saudi market is one of our key markets in the Middle East, and we are working together with our partners to maintain our relationship with this great market. In figures, Saudi Arabia is one of the top 3 markets in the region. Saudi Arabia was the biggest growth market within the Middle East region specifically, recording growth of 32%.
Q. As you are aware of, we are in a very competitive world and the technology today is playing an incredible role in our lives. How are you applying this to the Rolls-Royce car as a brand knowing that you need to keep its classic standards?
A. That’s very true, and we have the most advanced motorcar in the whole world. We are very keen not only to be up to date with the technology applied into our cars, but leading and renowned for its supreme attention to every single detail. Every model in the Rolls-Royce portfolio combines leading-edge technology with exquisite handcraftsmanship.
Q. Are you happy with the outcomes of 2014 or are you still trying to increase your market share?
A. We are very happy with the outcomes so far. In general, we have generated excellent figures on the global level, and achieved a growth of almost 40% over last year in the first quarter of 2014. Saudi Arabia was the biggest growth market within the Middle East, recording a growth of 32%.
Q. Maintenance after sales is always a big challenge for all industries. How are you managing this to keep your clients loyal and satisfied?
A. We were lucky enough in this region to partner with the best automotive dealers that are keen to deliver the best global standards of service and maintenance and customer service in general. Our distinguished clientele are always impressed on our performance in this regard.
Q. Can we know about your future plans in the region?
A. We are always looking into expanding our market reach within the region and also beyond. We are planning to inaugurate a new showroom in Dammam. Also we have inaugurated last year our first showroom in Lebanon as well as in Latin America in major cities such as Santiago, Sao Paolo and Mexico City. This year we are planning to enter into Nigeria, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, among others.
*Müller-Ötvös was instrumental in brand and product management for MINI between 2000 and 2003. In 2004, he assumed responsibility for central marketing and brand management at BMW until 2008 when he became the Head of Global Product Management Automobiles and After Sales.
A version of this article was originally published in the Saudi Gazette on Nov. 17, 2014.SHOW MORE