What were some of the recent developments at ACERE over the past year?
At MHD ACERE, one of the main changes that we made was to merge the automotive division with other divisions such as construction equipment, tires, and batteries. This would help streamline business operations and help the company function more efficiently. Our aim is to also contribute to a greener future, and we have accordingly launched a renewable energy division that focuses on the sale of electric vehicle (EV) chargers and solar panels. We have successfully tied up with ABB for the supply of EV chargers in Oman.
How do you predict the automotive market in Oman evolving?
The local market has witnessed many changes, especially in the past year. This is attributed not only to the pandemic, but also to the way consumer perception has shifted with respect to their purchasing decisions and how the relevant businesses have adapted to these situations. We have to adapt and evolve in order to make way for successful breakthroughs that will not only help us better serve our customers but also bring about a positive change within the market, during a time when running a business has been incredibly tough.
What were the reasons for establishing MHD Rent-A-Car, and how would you assess the opportunities that the Omani market presents to that segment of your business?
The car rental industry looks promising, with opportunities in the market segment. The major drivers of our decision to enter the car rental market was the potential increase in international air travelers and increase in the volume of domestic tourists in the future. Emerging trends, which have a direct impact on the dynamics of the car rental industry in Oman, as per our assessment, include enhanced user experience through digitalization, enhanced technologies, and the concept of self-driving instead of hiring a driver.
Where does Oman stand when it comes to hybrid and EVs?
Sustainable business practices have become the need of the hour with the threat of global warming and climate change looming over us. MHD is passionately committed to being a vital player in leading the private sector toward implementing sustainable energy solutions. With this in mind, we established our renewable energy and electric vehicles division, the first of its kind in Oman, to drive technological innovation powered by clean energy. We also recently signed a contract with ABB, a pioneering technology leader focused on digital industries, for the supply of high-powered EV chargers that will be installed across Oman. There is no doubt e-mobility is growing across the globe, and we aim to be pioneers in providing the best green and sustainable solutions in Oman.
How do you envision the timeline for the green transition when it comes to the automotive sector in Oman?
EVs have appeared as a great solution to improve air quality and minimize the effects of global warming. The complete transition to an all-electric future in Oman, as in the rest of the world, requires a sizable investment, an acceleration of vehicle charging infrastructure, and potential legislation for the installation of charge points in new homes. Although it seems like a distant achievement, this transition is gaining momentum as the adoption of EVs is accelerating quickly, and slowly but surely EVs will make their way to the Sultanate.
What are the main trends impacting the automotive market in Oman?
The automotive industry is at a crucial juncture regarding a pandemic that has shaken supply chain, production output, and sales performances. However, in parallel, digitalization has unlocked new revenue and is expected to impact consumer spending for in-car services. Key use cases here include in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspots, media and entertainment, and consumer-facing car safety/security applications. In addition, AI technologies such as machine learning, deep learning, and computer vision find applications in robotic automation are also trends that will impact the automotive market in Oman in the future. ✖