Saudi car sales projected to double in 2010 image

The Saudi automobile market will more than double in sales next year from 33.75 billion riyals now (about $9 billion), local newspaper Arab News reported on Sunday, citing organisers of the Riyadh Motor Show.

Vehicle sales in the Gulf’s biggest auto market are expected to grow to 69 billion riyals next year and to 94 billion by 2013, the report said, without explaining what would drive such exceptional growth.

Car sales in the oil-rich kingdom, which is investing tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects, are projected at 676,000 next year, with the number rising to 880,000 by 2013, Arab News said citing a statement issued by Riyadh Exhibitions Company.

The newspaper did not mention a figure for 2009.

According to research by Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank in the middle of this year, a weakness in the local economy due to the global financial crisis will slow down the auto market for the first time in 10 years.

Saudi Arabia recorded 620,000 vehicle sales in 2008, the best year for car dealers, according to industry estimates.