Ride to fame
The Abdul Latif Jameel Group, long a force to be reckoned with in the region’s auto dealership industry, is making considerable inroads farther afield, reports Trends magazine.
March 17, 2009 10:16 by Ehtesham Shahid
Despite the success of the Toyota-ALJ relationship, the Group branched out to a third manufacturer. In 2004, ALJ bagged the sole dealership of Daihatsu vehicles and spare parts in the Kingdom. Due to ALJ’s past experience of marketing automobiles and its existing network, Daihatsu was able to penetrate the Saudi market, building a sizable customer base. As was the case with Toyota and Lexus, ALJ is now also the sole distributor of Daihatsu vehicles in Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Egypt and Turkey as well as three locations in Germany – Nuremberg, Erlangen and Furth.
The Group has ventured into other industries as well, first in the consumer electronics segment in 1979, with ALJ acquiring the distributorship for Akai electronics. ALJ scored Toshiba’s consumer electronics business in 1981, and the Philco line of home appliances in 1991.
It has also dabbled in audiovisual equipment, forklifts, outdoor advertising, shipping, real estate, financial and marketing services, hospitality and tourism.
Industry watchers say it is the “level of engagement” that makes the company click, part of a professional program called “The Gallup Path” followed at ALJ. A metric-based economic model, it establishes the links between human nature in the workplace, customer en-gagement and business outcomes. Such programs set ALJ apart from other homegrown companies in Saudi Arabia.