UD Trucks continued its journey of growth across the Middle East in 2020, and despite the challenging business environment caused by the pandemic, the Japanese commercial vehicle brand improved its market share in most of its regional markets, while also registering increased sales in many countries. According to the company, total sales across the year rose by six percent versus 2019, in a market that experienced an overall decrease.
The positive performance was built on the company's continued, comprehensive and consistent strategy for growth based on customer focus and satisfaction, a strong partnership with its regional partners and employees' engagement. UD Trucks' full range of modern heavy-duty and medium-duty vehicles, which introduced new features to the region, combined with a total solutions approach for trucks and services, were key to this growth.
UD Trucks also said its MEENA team demonstrated a high level of agility and resilience in facing up to the unprecedented challenges, placing health and safety first for its customers, employees and partners, as well as supporting its customers and helping partners to minimise any negative impacts of the crisis.
Against the backdrop of extremely challenging economic conditions, the company succeeded in almost doubling its sales in the key market of Saudi Arabia, whilst also growing by an impressive 14 percent in Qatar. At the same time, the brand maintained stable sales in other key regional markets, including the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Ethiopia.
With the confirmation of Zahid Tractor as UD Trucks' new exclusive importer and distributor in Saudi Arabia shortly before the start of the year, 2020 was a transition year for the brand in the Kingdom. There was a focus on raising customer service standards and support to the highest levels, reflecting UD Trucks' ambitions and Zahid Tractor's reputation as a customer-centric organisation. The new partnership was marked by a series of celebratory launch events in Jeddah, Dammam and Riyadh.
Simultaneously, UD Trucks continued to invest significant resources in East Africa as it rolled out ambitious new plans for its Kenya operations. CMC Motors Ltd, the local distributor, developed and expanded the brand both locally and regionally. The importer offers customers the new range of the Quester and Croner models, which deliver unique solutions for every application.
The company shifted its focus to take measures during the pandemic outbreak to support customers and business partners. Warranty terms were extended for customers whose contracts expired within the lockdown period to alleviate any concerns they may have had regarding vehicle maintenance and repair needs during these challenging times.
The pandemic has been a trigger for disruption in many industries and businesses and UD Trucks accelerated its focus on implementing a digital approach to stay connected and keep its partners informed of the latest news and announcements. Several systems were made available to partners, allowing unlimited access to e-learnings and online module and virtual training sessions. Remote commercial and technical training sessions were delivered to over 450 participants around the region.
With attention now on 2021, UD Trucks said it is set to launch its "Better Life" long term strategy to demonstrate the brand's commitment to provide a better life for people and the planet by delivering sustainable logistics solutions. The company aims to have the lowest impact on the environment, be a leader in customer satisfaction, and provide customers with best-in-class trucks and services.
"2020 was a difficult year across all market segments with many challenges and uncertainties. Thanks to our customers' trust and our partners and employees' engagement, the solid performances we recorded have given us a lot of confidence and motivation to continue our sustainable growth journey. I would like to thank all my team at UD Trucks MEENA and all our partners in the region for their efforts, dedication and hard work in prioritising our customers' needs and making 2020 another successful year, despite all the complications,” said Mourad Hedna, President of UD Trucks MEENA. “In 2021, our focus will be on continuing to deliver our core business objectives by ensuring that the customer feels supported and satisfied at all times. We will continue to work with our local partners to ensure the right partnership mindset and the required flexibility to adapt to each market's needs.”
"Simultaneously, as a company with a long-term focus, it is essential that we provide visibility to our key stakeholders, including our customers, our partners, and our employees, of our long-term strategy and ambition beyond 2021 and the pandemic. That is why we will start implementing our "Better Life" strategy, which will only continue to strengthen our presence and contribution to the region,” he noted.