Al-Futtaim Automotive launches first podcast series ‘Let’s Talk Mobility’

Al-Futtaim Automotive has launched a new podcast series that celebrates the inspirational journeys of trailblazers driving positive change.The first season of the podcast series called ‘Let’s Talk Mobility’ will feature 12 episodes. The first five episodes were recorded at the recently held COP28 in Dubai, where Al-Futtaim Group played a key role as Strategic E-Mobility Partner of the event.The automotive industry worldwide is facing an unprecedented transformation, primarily steered by the growing calls for emission-free transportation and a rising demand for electric and hybrid vehicles. Now more than ever automotive stakeholders, customers and policymakers are demanding answers, action and clear strategies that will contribute towards a net-zero future. The podcast series aims to dig deep into the remarkable sustainability transitions that global leaders are orchestrating in their respective sector, from automotive to commercial transportation to retail.The series is hosted by Mousub Shashaa, Founder and CEO of ArabGT, with the first five episodes featuring a stellar line-up of industry trailblazers and sustainability pioneers, including:   Thomas Ingenlath, CEO, Polestar  Karin Svensson, Chief Sustainability Officer, Volvo Group  Fredrika Klarén, Head of Sustainability, Polestar  Anders Kärrberg, Head of Sustainability, Volvo Cars & Jonas Otterheim, Head of Climate Action, Volvo Cars  Aravind Mani, Co-Founder & CEO, RiverKatib Belkhodja, Director of Customer Centricity, Al-Futtaim Automotive, said: “As an industry stakeholder and a market leader, we have a primary responsibility of facilitating vital discussions and elevate the customer understanding on crucial topics that impact not only the daily commute but also the future of our planet. 2/3rd of Google UAE searches on EVs are not brand specific, showing that people still have many unanswered questions on electric mobility and there is a real need for more learnings and insights on this topic. Our podcast series aims to address this need through discussions with leading experts and trailblazers. We chose to partner with Mousub Shasaa, a known personality and a leading voice in this category with great reach across audiences within the region.”The first episode is available to listen and watch on Spotify (@al-futtaim-automotive) and YouTube (@alfuttaimautogroup).

Al-Futtaim Automotive transforms the automotive retail experience

Dubai, UAE: To strongly position itself as a frontrunner in the UAE’s fast-expanding ‘experiential economy’, Al-Futtaim Automotive has announced the launch of a one-of-its-kind immersive and interactive virtual showroom.The dynamic new virtual showroom unlocks possibilities to remodel the automotive retail experience. Customers wear a VR headset and are instantly transported into a lifelike, incredibly spacious virtual showroom displaying a variety of models. Through the power of digital, Al-Futtaim Automotive has shown that it’s possible to give customers a large showroom experience, without the need for heavy real-estate investment or operation costs, while keeping the experience edgy and innovative for customers.The game-changing virtual showroom has been developed in collaboration with Verse Estate, a leading Dubai-based VR-technology company producing the most photorealistic, high-impact virtual and metaverse solutions. Al-Futtaim Automotive has named Verse Estate as their ‘Phygital Experience Partner’ with a commitment to driving innovative mobility experiences into the future.Everything customers want in an automotive showroom, made virtually real The immersive, 3D digital environment of the virtual showroom can be experienced through VR-glasses, making it incredibly easy to install the virtual showroom at multiple locations. Inside the virtual showroom, customers immerse in an engagingly real automotive buying experience by surveying the entire virtual space, seeing all the models displayed inside and out, exploring each car’s details and features and even going to the extent of customising the car on display to a certain extent.The immersive platform revolutionises the car shopping experience, by empowering customers to explore, engage and book their car, setting a new standard for interactive e-commerce.Currently, Al-Futtaim Automotive has launched the virtual showroom for BYD, the world’s top-selling New Energy Vehicle (NEV) brand. The innovative new launch is built on the two core pillars of Al-Futtaim Automotive’s business strategy: Customer Centricity and Digitalisation. Commenting on the launch, Katib Belkhodja, Director of Customer Centricity, Al-Futtaim Automotive, said, " As automotive market leaders, we already have a formidable presence with a wide network of showrooms. To add to that, we have launched e-commerce platforms with a seamless end-to-end purchase journey, and developed a strong digital ecosystem that helps us get accurate, personalised insights on what the customer is looking for. The immersive showroom was the next big move and has become an essential piece of our digital ecosystem. Moreover, it’s a tangible illustration of our promise of always keeping customers at the forefront of our business. Now we don’t need to wait for the customers to come to our showroom, but rather we can take the showroom to our customers wherever they are, and this is planned with multiple roadshows with our BYD virtual showroom this year.”Nabil Bouali, Co-Founder, Verse Estate, commented, “The adoption of virtual, immersive and metaverse solutions is no longer confined to tech-sector focused enterprises, and this is clearly demonstrated in the exciting initiative launched from an industry leader like Al-Futtaim Automotive. Developing their BYD Virtual Showroom has been a remarkable journey, and we are proud to create this industry benchmark for other brands to follow. It’s an opportunity to reshape automotive experiences and engage with each and every customer on a new level – and we are honoured to be their Phygital Experience Partner.”Where automotive & tech enthusiasts can experience the virtual showroom UAE citizens can explore the groundbreaking BYD Virtual Showroom installed in the new flagship BYD Showroom & Discovery Center, located at Dubai Festival City, as well as at the Al-Futtaim Stand at COP28 Green Zone (Stand Number 80, Technology & Innovation Hub, Green Zone), from 30 November to 12 December 2023, Expo City Dubai. Al-Futtaim Group has been appointed the Strategic E-Mobility Partner of COP28.By building a new showroom using virtual technology, Al-Futtaim is also taking a step towards minimising the environmental impact seen in traditional brick-and-mortar showrooms, underscoring the Group’s commitment to sustainability across its value chain.As the next chapter of revolutionising the automotive customer experience, Al-Futtaim Automotive plans to launch the virtual showroom online, giving website visitors a chance to immerse themselves in an innovative, highly-engaging showroom journey from the convenience of their desktops.Experiential economy boom led by a strong customer demand & UAE digitalisation agendaWith one of the highest technology adoption rates worldwide, UAE’s customers have a strong affinity for innovative, digital-led experiences from brands. Salesforce’s ‘State of the Connected Customer Report’ 2023 states that 83% of UAE customers say that the experience a brand provides is as important as its products and services. Dubai is heavily vested in the experiential economy with the Dubai Metaverse Strategy aiming to position Dubai among the world’s top 10 metaverse economies. The UAE’s metaverse market is expected to grow exponentially with a cumulative growth rate of 28% per year.Al-Futtaim Automotive’s virtual showroom is well-placed within the city’s dynamic tech & business landscape, and in addressing the growing need for more innovative, immersive experiences from UAE customers. About Al-Futtaim AutomotiveAl-Futtaim Automotive, one of the main five operating divisions within the UAE-based Al-Futtaim Group of companies, is a conglomerate of motoring-related businesses, franchising some of the world’s most-recognized automotive brands and services.Operating in 10 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa and empowered by around 9,000 associates, the UAE-headquartered Group’s services span across distribution of new and used vehicles, manufacturing, leasing, and aftersales.Ranging from passenger cars to SUVs, commercial vehicles, industrial and construction equipment as well as motorbikes and quads, Al-Futtaim Automotive Group offers an integrative customer-centric experience for motorists, fleet operators and contractors alike, and strives to become the leader in tailor-made mobility solutions.

Al-Futtaim Automotive appoints Katib Belkhodja as Director of Customer Centricit

Al-Futtaim Automotive has enlisted Katib Belkhodja as the trailblazing Director of Customer Centricity for their automotive group.This position has been designed to adopt an innovative, customer-centric approach to the business, setting a new standard in the industry.Taking on this pivotal role, Belkhodja will directly report to the President of Al-Futtaim Automotive and be entrusted with crafting customer-focused business strategies. These visionary plans will revolve around enhancing the brand's power, elevating the customer experience, and driving digital sales to new heights.In addition to this, Belkhodja will spearhead the implementation of Al-Futtaim Automotive's marketing, PR communications, and digital transformation initiatives.Embracing his position as Customer Centricity Director, Belkhodja will skillfully oversee the creation of captivating brand content and storytelling, and leverage the power of data science across the diverse range of products and services offered by the company.Taking charge of the digital revolution, Belkhodja will pioneer the integration of cutting-edge technologies within showrooms and establish revolutionary processes to gather invaluable customer feedback at every stage, from call centers to digital bookings, right through to the final sale.On his appointment, Belkhodja shared his excitement: "I am thrilled to lead the new Customer Centricity department, an organic extension of our customer-driven business approach. Al-Futtaim Automotive remains steadfast in our dedication to putting customers first. In today's fiercely competitive landscape, where personalized and curated customer experiences are paramount to brand success, we eagerly embrace this responsibility."He further said: "My mission is to redefine the brand experience by seamlessly blending digital innovations with a deep understanding of our esteemed customers. Armed with a wealth of customer insights from diverse touchpoints, we are relentlessly working towards delivering a truly 'connected customer experience' – from the initial interaction through our compelling marketing campaigns to engaging showroom or e-commerce experiences, culminating in the unforgettable moment when they drive away with their dream vehicle."Drawing from his extensive 15-year background in the automotive industry, encompassing roles with OEMs, major dealerships, and automotive digital platforms, Belkhodja has previously served as the Marketing Director of Al-Futtaim Automotive, further solidifying his qualifications for this prestigious role as the Customer Centricity Director.