Dubai Motor Show: Connectivity "is driving all transport preferences," says General Motors MEA
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Dubai Motor Show: Connectivity "is driving all transport preferences," says General Motors MEA

Dubai Motor Show: Connectivity "is driving all transport preferences," says General Motors MEA

AMEInfo had the opportunity to speak with the President and Managing Director of General Motors MEA, learning invaluable insights into the company's latest developments, as well as automotive market trends in the region.

  • "Today, we have six exciting new reveals and 13 incredible products on display, a diversity only possible through the GM family, and across the week drivers in the region can see 18 new and iconic vehicles"
  • "We were thrilled to announce that the Middle East will be the only global region, outside of North America, to receive the 2020 Corvette in its first year of production"
  • "One key factor that is driving all transport preferences here and around the world is connectivity"

With the annual Dubai Motor Show upon us, we took this opportunity to get in touch with some of the biggest players in the automotive sector in the region. 

AMEInfo had the opportunity to speak with John Roth, President and Managing Director, General Motors, Africa & Middle East, who revealed invaluable insights into his company's latest developments, as well as market trends in the region.  

John Roth, President and Managing Director, General Motors, Africa & Middle EastWhat are you showcasing today at the Dubai Motor Show?  

At the Dubai International Motor Show, General Motors is showcasing its commitment to bring the safest, most diverse and most connected vehicles across Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac for customers in the region. Today, we have six exciting new reveals and 13 incredible products on display, a diversity only possible through the GM family, and across the week drivers in the region can see 18 new and iconic vehicles. 

With Chevrolet, the 2020 Corvette Stingray made its regional debut this morning, bringing new levels of performance, technology, craftsmanship and luxury to Chevrolet’s 2020 line-up. During the reveal, we were thrilled to announce that the Middle East will be the only global region, outside of North America, to receive the 2020 Corvette in its first year of production. From track tech to road agility, today we also unveiled the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Captiva. Redesigned for the modern family that needs versatility, safety and fun, all in a sleek crossover. Joining the Captiva is a new nameplate for the region, the 2020 Chevrolet Onix, which will offer class-leading fuel efficiency and blend attractive design, innovative connectivity and active safety technologies to offer customers a compact car that is a cut above the rest.

GMC revealed its boldest line-up to date, featuring greater versatility, connectivity and the latest accessories and personalization offerings. The all-new re-designed GMC Sierra line-up is on full display, underpinned by two models exclusively available for the region, the Elevation and AT4 regular cabs. The new 2020 Acadia, with state-of-the-art technological enhancements is an intelligent SUV that elevates the driving and passenger experiences on all fronts. 

Cadillac unveiled three new models that encapsulate the unique blend of power, presence and performance only delivered by the premium brand. The first-ever Cadillac CT5 Sport Sedan advances the brand’s award-winning legacy with a distinctive fusion of design, performance and comfort, supported by Cadillac’s latest technologies. While the CT5 affirms Cadillac’s strength in luxury sedans, the first-ever, three-row crossover, the Cadillac XT6 and the sophisticated Cadillac XT5 continues the brand’s rapid expansion in the SUV segment. 

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How is the automotive industry in the GCC shaping up in comparison with the international market - what are the key differentiating factors driving the industry here? (For example, GCC sales are influenced by Gulf citizens' preference of mid-to-large sized SUVs, in comparison with preferences for more economic sedans and hatchbacks in countries like Lebanon, or the UK). 

Every market brings its distinct customer needs and preferences. For example, while the UAE is more aligned with global trends towards crossovers to full-sized SUVs, consumers in Saudi Arabia are still geared towards passenger cars. At the same time, the GCC also has drivers who aim to discover new trails and conquer every ground, which draws them towards full-sized pick-ups. 

One key factor that is driving all transport preferences here and around the world is connectivity. Our lives are more interactive and connected than ever before, and consumers want their vehicles to engage in the same way as the phone in their hand. We see this certainly in the GCC, and visionary leadership today are recognizing the impact of connectivity not just in customer accessibility but in laying the groundwork for safer, smarter transport. Cars that talk to each other and the roads they drive on and the cities they move in. 

That’s why we were thrilled to announce last month that we are bringing OnStar to the region in late 2020, through Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet models, and globally at GM we’ve introduced a new electronic platform that will help future vehicles process data and respond faster than ever before. This new platform will first be available on the all-new Cadillac CT5, which is on display now at the Dubai Motor Show.   

From left to right: Gary West, Brian McCreavy and John Roth discuss OnStar launching in the Middle East. Image: GM

Can you share with us some info on GM's best-performing products from its GCC portfolio?

The versatility of our line-up with our Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac brands means we’re providing a variety of incredible vehicles that customers respond to across segments. The GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox dominate their segment, growing by 47% year to date in the region, while Chevrolet Traverse is among the bestselling SUVs in Saudi Arabia, with over 333% of growth. The Traverse alongside the GMC Acadia outpace the industry at 52% of growth since last year. 

Just launched earlier this year, the Cadillac XT4, the first crossover for the premium brand, is already a leader in its segment, and we’ve grown into new audiences with women comprising 65% of owners in Saudi Arabia. 

These results don’t just stem from the high quality of our products, but our focus on our customers at the heart of everything we do and why we understanding their ever-changing needs. A prime example of this is our extensive multi-brand pick-up truck portfolio, offering more trims and accessory combinations than ever before, including trims exclusively available for the region with the Chevrolet Silverado regular cab, Trail Boss and RST, and the GMC Sierra regular cab, AT4 and Elevation. We know that our truck customers are adventurous and with our offering, every driver can tailor their vehicle to best suit their journey. 

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With the end of 2019 almost upon us, what would you say defined GM's journey in the GCC this year? You recently announced that your exclusive security platform OnStar is coming to the Middle East, bringing a revolutionary service to the region.

We’ve been here in the region for over 90 years, and we aim to be here for the next 90 ahead. General Motors is continuously harnessing the latest innovations in engineering and technology to make every drive more connected, more fun and safer than ever before. 

Across 2019, we have demonstrated what that commitment means for our customers with a set of launches, new technology and mobility announcements. OnStar is a shining example of this, a pioneering in-vehicle technology that has helped customers for over 20 years in their day-to-day ownership as well as supporting them when they needed it most.

Closing out the year with our freshest and boldest line-up for 2020 at the Dubai Motor Show shows that we’re only getting started when it comes to providing for our customers across the GCC.  

Read: The 2nd e-MotorShow in the Middle East is coming in 2020

Where does GM stand on the future of mobility in the region? You've already invested in green mobility with your Bolt EV. With a country like the UAE investing heavily in charging stations and other electric vehicle infrastructure, the country is opening its doors to companies like GM to help standardize green mobility purchasing habits. 

Our vision of a future with Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions and Zero Congestion continues to guide the development of our business, both internationally and here in the Middle East. We are working hand in hand with government partners across the region to achieve their bold green targets by raising awareness through consumer education and providing reliable and innovative products that make a difference.

When we launched the Bolt EV at the 2017 Dubai International Motor Show, it boasted the longest range in its segment, providing a practical everyday solution for environmentally conscious drivers. It also become a fixture of EVs on the road, joining fleets with the Dubai Police, The Sustainable City and even more. Since then, Chevrolet engineers have been working tirelessly to unlock more range, which they achieved with the 2020 Bolt EV on-stand at the 2019 Motor Show. The new Bolt EV can now go farther than before up to 565KM, an additional 45KM of range. This isn’t just longer range, it means you’re getting back an extra day without having to recharge. 

We recognize that the UAE and the wider GCC understand where the future of mobility is going and is making bold strides in bringing this vision to life. We will continue to invest in bringing the latest innovations to the region and look forward to being equally bold with our product offering and government partnerships.

Author
Mark Anthony Karam

Mark Anthony Karam was an Editor at AMEinfo between 2018-2021. You can get in touch with him on LinkedIn here: linkedin.com/in/m-a-karam/

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