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AutoCapitalCo.

KUWAIT - Transport

Ahmad Jaafar

General Manager, Autocapital Co, Kuwait

Bio

Ahmad Jaafar has extensive experience in the investment banking industry. He holds a master’s degree focused on international/global studies from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Jaafar is the General Manager of Autocapital Co. as well as the CEO of Exotic Snax Kuwait.

"We have observed a shift in market share dynamics primarily due to the substantial disruption caused by Chinese car manufacturers."
Autocapital Co. has expanded to meet the growing demand for transportation services while also addressing the gap in the market for electric vehicles by investing in infrastructure development.
How did the Kuwaiti market evolve over 2023 regarding sales and customer preferences?

Our primary goal in 2023 was to expand our departments to meet the growing demand for transportation services, particularly for other companies and their employees. Recognizing a significant gap in the market, we focused on addressing this need. Though the electric vehicle sector initially faces challenges, we actively invest in infrastructure development. Our goal is to establish charging stations across Kuwait to boost sales of electric vehicles. In addition, Autocapital Co. experienced substantial growth in contracts, especially with the US Army and US Corps of Engineers. Anticipating increased contracts in the coming years, we attribute our success in the past year to our strategic financing programs, which have enabled us to capture a significant market share, surpassing competitors with decades of market presence. This success propelled us to open a new showroom in Al-Rai.

How would you characterize the electrical vehicle market in Kuwait, and who are your main competitors?

Fortunately, we have yet to witness competitors entering the market due to perceived high risks, especially with the current low oil prices and lack of infrastructure. Our entry strategy began with spot rentals, allowing customers to make short-term rentals. This approach has boosted sales, with potential customers leaning toward operational leases for electric vehicles. The uncertainty surrounding the future resale value, driven by a still-developing customer base, is a critical factor of growth in the market.

Fleets are a significant aspect of your business. Could you provide more details on your overall business strategy?

High interest rates and soaring car prices make it challenging for ordinary consumers to purchase the vehicles they need for logistics, business, or personal use. To address this, we have shifted our focus to internal finance, tailoring our financing structures to accommodate customers and our business needs. Many individuals exceed their loan limits, and we assist these customers by carefully considering contracts and adhering to regulations, allowing them to obtain the required vehicles. We offer competitive prices by emphasizing our Lease to Own program, a unique approach in Kuwait that is not widely available. This gives us a significant advantage, as there are no mileage restrictions nor obligations to return the car in perfect condition at the end of the contract. Since the vehicle becomes the customer’s own at the end of the agreement, this flexibility contributes to overall customer satisfaction.

How have these challenges evolved in the car import sector?

We have observed a shift in market share dynamics primarily due to the substantial disruption caused by Chinese car manufacturers. They have gained significant ground in supplying cars, particularly as Japanese and American car supplies faced shortages. Our approach is entirely different due to our focus on importing brands. We collaborate with local dealerships representing these brands, acting as partners to boost sales and cater to market needs.

How does Autocapital prioritize client satisfaction to maintain a high level of premium brands?

Listening to and prioritizing customer needs is our foundation and is crucial to building our company’s infrastructure. This approach has swiftly garnered us a significant market share in Kuwait. We are also considering expanding into GCC countries. Saudi Arabia is experiencing a current boom and is a prime target for our expansion efforts.

Where do you envision Autocapital in five years?

Our primary focus is securing additional contracts in transportation and logistics, especially from the government and the oil sector. The goal is to enhance our presence, enabling us to dominate this market. We want to expand our presence in the GCC, particularly in Dubai, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, primarily focusing on the rental sector, specifically airport locations. Our recently opened area at the airport has experienced significant growth, securing the highest market share in airport rentals, thanks to strategic partnerships with third-party online companies.

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