General Motors said it expects to see sustainable new vehicle sales growth in the Middle East but at a slower rate than in the past few years because of uncertainty and political crisis in markets such as Egypt and Syria.
The carmaker temporarily closed its Egyptian assembly plant outside of Cairo last month, and shut its local office, following clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Mursi. The facilities have since reopened but the company is monitoring the situation.
John Stadwick, president and managing director of GM in the Middle East, told reporters: “For the entire Middle East market we see growth continuing…maybe not at the rates at which we been growing over the past few years of 7 to 9% but still a sustainable growth at 4 to 5%.”
On the positive side, a growing youth population with rising incomes and high oil prices mean growth would continue despite deteriorating conditions and that GM’s Egyptian business would still exceed the sales forecasts, he added.
GM’s Chevrolet brand gets about 10% market share in the Middle East and the company is looking to invest in the region to grow this, Stadwick said, adding: “In the Middle East there are a million people coming into market every year, 60% under 30 years of age. That’s why this is an invest(ment) market.”
About 65% of GM’s business comes from outside the US with its biggest markets being Brazil, China, Mexico and Russia.