ENG AHMAD RADAIDEH, Technical Manager, Al Muftah Trading & Contracting Co/ Tyre Division, speaks on the market outlook in GCC countries along with his role as a dealer for tyres.
Considering infrastructure and construction activities in the GCC, what is your outlook on the current tyre market? Which among all GCC countries has emerged as a leading tyre market?
With all the projects in GCC countries, and among the new construction activities and ongoing infrastructure projects, we can clearly see the huge tyre demand in GCC. As the biggest market for tyres in GCC, the Saudi Arabia tyre market is expected to grow with the increase of passenger car sales, expanding automobile fleet size, etc, owing to the big population, and as a country with one of the highest number of per capita vehicles globally. UAE tyre demand comes second with the high rate of replacement in passenger car tyres as the leading market segment in UAE. In Qatar, tyre demand is going up confidently with ambitious plans that include new construction activities, road and rail projects, infrastructure and new stadiums being constructed in preparation for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022.
The Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain markets are expected to grow in the next five years.
Where does the opportunity lie for tyre manufacturers? Which types of tyres are finding more takers in the market? What are the types of infrastructure projects leading to this demand?
The Saudi Arabia and UAE markets are well known to tyre manufactures. However, the Qatar market is a big opportunity to increase market share for tyre manufacturers with the increased demand owing to the huge number of ongoing projects. Passenger and SUV tyre demand is high in all GCC countries with the high purchasing power and increasing number of vehicles. With the innumerable upcoming infrastructure projects in GCC, especially in Qatar, like stadiums, infrastructure, roads, rail projects, hotels and sky-rise buildings, the OTR segment will witness huge demand.
How would you comment on the domestic market for tyres as well as the import scenario in GCC countries?
There is a huge lack of vehicle production facilities and tyre plans in GCC countries; only a few automobile assembly units exist in Saudi Arabia. As a result, the whole domestic demand for automobiles as well as tyres is met solely through imports.
What are the key features (like better quality and longer life) that buyers or OEMs are demanding in tyres?
Leading manufacturers like Bridgestone, Toyo, Yokohama, Michelin and Goodyear have established themselves as key players in GCC countries. In Qatar, Chinese brands are taking the biggest share owing to the cheap prices. But this is likely to decline in coming years as the Japanese brands are focusing on this key market and the trend is moving on the part of contracting companies to higher-quality tyres with longer life to meet project deadlines, reduce downtime of the equipment and reduce costs in the long run. In Saudi Arabia, there is a lower share for Chinese brands as leading tyre manufacturers enjoy a big market share along with a strong base of loyal customers. Further, the replacement market in the GCC is showing clearly that reputed brands have the biggest share as original equipment (OE) is fitted with these brands in general. Key features in the passenger or SUV tyre segment is quality, pattern, and OE fitment, and price is still an important factor.
Are there any other types of tyres witnessing remarkable sales? What are your expectations from the GCC tyre market in times to come?
The OTR, Ind, and TBR segments are having remarkable sales in GCC with all the ongoing construction projects; the number of trucks and heavy equipment is increasing rapidly, leading to bigger demand. Also, with the extreme weather conditions, high temperatures and humidity in these countries, the tyre replacement cycle is faster and tyres need to be changed more often than normal or cold countries. We will see a big increase in tyre demand in the GCC; the ongoing projects will take it to a whole new level. Manufacturers need to be prepared and pay attention to this market to meet the increasing need in all tyre segments.
What is your dealership reach? Who are your prominent clients for off-highway tyres, CVs and tyres for construction equipment?
As one of the leading companies in Qatar, Al Muftah Trading holds the agency for Toyo Tires from Japan for 50 years now as well as for other Indian brands like BKT and CEAT. We are one of the most favourable tyre destinations in the market; through our outlets and with the help of our big network of dealers, we supply across all segments. As our premium brand, Toyo covers market needs in the TBR/PCR segment; CEAT is a good choice when it comes to good quality with a better price; and in the OTR/Ind tyre segment, BKT offers a wide range with good quality along with a reasonable price. Our main clients for the OTR/TBR segment are the big contracting companies like Urbacon Trading & Contracting (UCC), HBK Contracting, Galfar El Misnad, etc.
What value-added services do you offer?
We offer all automotive services through our showrooms for all tyre segments, lubricants and batteries along with a large qualified team who is ready to assist at any time, as our valuable customers always take priority.