Hybrid vehicles set for a bright future across the MENAT region
The global market for hybrid vehicles is expected to grow 16 percent annually between 2017 and 2022. The market was valued at almost US$ 103 billion in 2015. It is expected to be close to US$ 400 billion by 2024. The MENAT region, alongside Asia Pacific, Africa, and Latin America, is set to be key area for future growth and development in this exciting industry.
It is not hard to understand why the latest generation of hybrid vehicles is proving so attractive for consumers around the world, including in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT).
Hybrid vehicles reduce the cost of travel by combining electric motors with gasoline engines to produce enhanced fuel efficiency. They are an excellent way of countering rising energy prices, increasing levels of air pollution, and global warming. These benefits are already leading to a change in consumer attitudes, which is expected to accelerate in the coming years.
The Middle East’s automotive market is ripe for the development and introduction of new ‘clean vehicle’ technologies, with several governments across the region launching policies and initiatives to encourage the use and production of hybrid cars.
In the UAE, for example, Dubai Electric and Water Authority has installed 100 electric-vehicle charging stations, while Toyota’s Camry hybrid vehicles are already being used as taxis by several operators in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In fact, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority has also announced ambitious plans for half of the emirate’s cabs to be hybrid vehicles by 2021.
In Morocco, the government announced last autumn that it would remove customs duties for hybrid and electric vehicles, as part of a package of changes aimed at promoting eco-friendly cars. The ultimate aim is to reduce CO2 emissions by 12 percent and allocate 10 percent of the automobile market to electric cars by 2030.
These ambitions received a boost in November 2016 when Toyota Du Maroc, part of Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, signed a three-year agreement with Wafa Assurance. Under the deal, Toyota will provide a hybrid vehicle as a replacement car to all Wafa customers whose car needs repairing after an accident. During COP22 earlier this year, the benefits of hybrid vehicles received another high-profile boost with the UberGREEN initiative, which saw 12,000 taxi trips taken in hybrid Toyota vehicles during the event.
Similarly in Turkey, where Abdul Latif Jameel has been operating since 1998, the government announced measures in September 2016 to reduce the tax on hybrid cars. Under the new regulations, hybrid cars can enjoy a tax reduction of up to 50%, depending on the engine capacity and power of the electric motor. The incentive is intended to increase the use and production of hybrid cars in the country.
Abdul Latif Jameel’s Toyota operations have already achieved measurable success in bringing hybrid vehicles to the forefront of public life in Turkey. Eleven Toyota Yaris hybrid cars are currently used for public transport by Tepebaşi, a municipality and district governorate in Eskişehir, the first time a municipality has chosen hybrid vehicles for public transportation. While in November 2016, Toyota’s C-HR hybrid car entered production at its Sakarya plant, creating up to 1,000 jobs. The C-HR is the first hybrid car to be manufactured in Turkey.
The C-HR is not the only Toyota hybrid grabbing attention across the MENAT region. In December 2015, Abdul Latif Jameel launched the Toyota Prius in Saudi Arabia, aiming to build on the car’s 3.5 million sales worldwide and help reduce emissions across the country.
Hassan Jameel, Deputy President and Vice Chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel, said: “Based on a heritage of more than 60 years of successful relations with Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), we are proud to share TMC’s lead in the innovative development of hybrid vehicles.”
Abdul Latif Jameel also supported Lexus on a tour of universities in Saudi Arabia, aiming to raise awareness and change preconceptions of ‘green cars’, particularly at the luxury end of the market. More than one million hybrid Lexus cars have already been sold worldwide.
“We fully expect the demand for hybrid cars to continue increasing across the MENAT region, just as it has in Europe and North America,” explains Hassan Jameel.
“It is not only because they are more fuel efficient and therefore reduce costs, but also due to the desire of drivers to be more environmentally responsible. Governments across the region are also helping to change attitudes with policies designed to increase the appeal of hybrid vehicles. Abdul Latif Jameel – with its longstanding relationships with Toyota and Lexus – is well placed to support these efforts and bring the benefits of hybrid technologies to a much wider audience,” he says.
 Global Micro-Hybrid Vehicles Market – Forecasts and Trends (2017-2022), Mordor Intelligence, March 2017
 Hybrid Vehicles Market – Global Industry Analysis, Market Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2016–2024, Transparency Market Research, February 2017.