Daimler, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of commercial vehicles, opened its first regional centre for the Middle East and North Africa in Dubai on October 29.
Daimler Commercial Vehicles MENA FZE, the first of six regional centres to be set up globally, will oversee sales and after sales business of a fleet of trucks, vans and buses from its automotive brands: Mercedes-Benz, FUSO and Setra.
Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Daimler Trucks & Buses, told AMEinfo that the new centre will be responsible for the group’s operations in Iran as the market opens up after sanctions are being removed post historic nuclear deal with world powers.
Bernhard said the company is currently holding talks with the Iranian authorities to reopen its manufacturing facility in the country which was closed down after sanctions were imposed on Tehran.
Between 2011 and 2014, unit sales of the group’s trucks, buses and vans in the region grew by 23 per cent annually. Last year the group sold 45,900 commercial vehicles in the region.
When asked if the decline in oil prices had any impact on the sales of its commercial vehicles in the region, the company said it was expecting some weakness with growth projection of only 2.5 per cent. But it predicts the expansion rate in the region will rise to more than four per cent from 2016 to 2019 on an annual average.
“Despite the economic slowdown we are expanding our operations in MENA which is a clear sign of our commitment to the region. The markets of the Middle East and North Africa are very important to us, and offer substantial potential for growth. Today’s opening in Dubai therefore represents the next logical step,” says Roland Schneider, President & CEO of Daimler Commercial Vehicles MENA.
Schneider said the region will see a few launches in the commercial segment in November and December without giving details.
The centre located in the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai will be responsible for markets in 19 countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan.