Car usage boost to drive Saudi bearing industry growth

Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow women to drive from June 2018 will benefit the Kingdom’s automotive aftermarket

Hassanein Alwan, managing director, Mineral Circles Bearings.
Hassanein Alwan, managing director, Mineral Circles Bearings.

UAE-based specialised automotive bearings company Mineral Circles Bearings (MCB) seeks to tap into Saudi Arabia’s aftermarket industry, which is expected to grow with increase in car sales and influx of Saudi drivers from 2018.

At the Automechanika Riyadh exhibition in February 2018, MCB showcased its SNR automotive range, which includes bearings and wheel bearing kits suitable for top French vehicle brands, and Iljin wheel bearings, which are suitable for American-made vehicles as well as preferred by Korean automakers such as Hyundai.

The MCB automotive range is the company’s own economical bearing brand, offering one-year warranty to its wide range of automotive aftermarket product line such as wheel hubs and universal joints.

Michel Peltier, regional sales manager, Mineral Circles Bearings, said: “The trend nowadays, especially in Europe, is the purchase of kits which include accessories and not single bearings. To educate the Middle East market about this, it’s important to highlight our product range in Automechanika Riyadh. Another opportunity for us is to present our MCB automotive range to attract more distributors for our own bearing brand.”

For commercial vehicles, MCB showcased it heavy duty EP3 high load grease. The product is the result of a collaboration between MCB and NTN-SNR, the European arm of Japanese bearing manufacturer NTN Corporation.

“The NLGI grade 3 grease is a suitable lubrication choice for trucks, buses, or commercial vehicles as it protects bearings against premature damage caused by humidity, hot temperatures, contamination, and corrosion. For the same price of the universal grease, this new grease type from NTN-SNR is built for heavy application such as trucks with a wide temperature range that is fit for the MEA region,” said Peltier.

Hassanein Alwan, managing director, Mineral Circles Bearings, shared his observations regarding the Middle East market environment and growth opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

“Customers now demand faster delivery, real-time information on price and availability. This is not easy for a very traditional industry like ours but we need to welcome disruptive innovation in order to be ahead of the competition. In Riyadh, we expect to see more decision makers than traders. In terms of vehicles at the event, we look forward to viewing more commercial, semi, and heavy duty automobiles than passenger cars,” said Alwan.

"The KSA government’s initiatives and laws allowing women to drive in 2018 makes the Saudi market attractive for us. Egypt looks promising as well due to its population growth as well as Morocco because of its stability. As demand for commodities increase, we believe that countries like Iraq and Algeria will boom in the coming years,” he added.

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, co-organiser of Automechanika Riyadh 2018, said: “Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow women to drive from June 2018, along with other recent economic initiatives, bodes well for many industries, and the Kingdom’s automotive aftermarket is among those that could benefit the most.

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