Women staff fill Saudi car showrooms ahead of driving ban lift

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Saleswomen have started filling car showrooms to facilitate the decision-making process for potential female buyers as the royal decree allowing women to drive will come into effect in less than a month from now.

Several car companies have employed female staff in their sales teams to attract female customers.


The Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors’ dealership trained a team of saleswomen during the past three months and deployed saleswomen in all their branches in the Kingdom. Professional instructors introduced the trainees to cars and taught them how to market the products.

“Saleswomen and executives would be working with all customers, not just women,” said the dealership’s head of marketing Mahmoud Mirza.

There are also dedicated lounges and rest areas for female visitors.

An initiative under the slogan “Her Car Her Choice” showcased the latest models in Jaguar and Land Rover lifestyle cars guiding visitors to take the right steps in choosing a car by checking safety features, performance and practicality.

The one-day event that took place Sunday at the showroom branch at Automall aimed at helping visitors to learn about what to consider when purchasing a vehicle.

Asked about visitors in recent months, Mirza said, “Since the decree was announced, we have found an increase in traffic in our showrooms. Some even showed up the day following the announcement of the decree out of curiosity. Since last month we have found more women coming in. They are more serious about buying a car. You can tell this time they’re doing their research.”

Ohoud Al-Zahrani, a saleswoman who joined the dealership about three months ago, said she was excited about the new experience although it is not related to her undergraduate degree in human resources.

She recounts her early experience with cars when she helped her son choose one when he turned 18.

“It was then when I started learning a lot about cars. He also had a car accident and we had to get car parts and I learned about that as well,” she said.

“I feel this is a chance for us to prove ourselves not just in our ability to drive but also to work in the auto industry. There are now opportunities in managerial, administrative, marketing and so many other fields for women.”

Sahar Alshareef, another saleswoman, said she gained knowledge about cars from the training program. “It’s a new work experience and it’s nice dealing with female customers. It’s new for us and for them.”

For Manal Alawaji, it is her first time to work in car sales.

“Most of the visitors have been asking about safety features. Fuel consumption is also a main concern,” she said.

Women will be allowed to do test drives after the implementation of the royal decree next month.

Nearly 8,000 applicants have obtained driving licenses in the Kingdom so far.

Several marketing executives told Saudi Gazette that small SUVs and medium-sized sedans are the vehicles in demand.

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