UAE’s automotive giant OWS to establish Saudi facility in Q1 2023


OWS Automotive, the global automotive service provider with a major presence in the UAE, has signed an agreement with King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Saudi Arabia to establish its head office and main facility there. 

The agreement will see the two groups provide vehicle remanufacturing, assembly, upgrade and reset facilities within the city, ultimately creating nearly 1,000 new jobs in the process.

The agreement was signed by KAEC’s CEO Cyril Piaia, and Oweis Zahran, CEO of OWS Automotive.

It will help to further cement KAEC as a key hub for the regional automotive industry and also represents a significant boost to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategy, which seeks to diversify the kingdom’s economy.

“We’ve had a presence in the UAE since 2010 – every major government and fleet owner is now a customer of ours – and so it is time to look beyond the UAE’s borders,” Oweis Zahran, CEO of OWS Automotive, told AGBI. 

“It was only a matter of time before we moved to Saudi Arabia. With all the investment they’re pouring into the economy it makes sense to get on board. 

“We’ve seen how rapid the growth was in Dubai, as well as other emerging economies, and Saudi is catching up quickly. I believe it’s the future of the Middle East.” 

Zahran said OWS Automotive’s master plan is to base its regional headquarters in KAEC but, for now, it is focused on establishing the head office and main automotive remanufacturing facilities.  

“We’d like to complete this in the next 18 months,” said Zahran. “But we may be looking at between 18 and 24 months.” 

OWS Automotive plans to open the first phase of its facility in the first quarter of 2023 which will include a training academy that aims to offer 200 jobs to Saudi nationals.

It will then expand to over 1,000 jobs upon the facility’s completion, although Zahran expects the facility will generate considerably more jobs than that. 

King Abdullah Economic City

“A thousand jobs is a conservative number,” he said. “We’re at more than that in the UAE today and the UAE isn’t even 10 percent of the market size of Saudi. 

“I think it can be several thousand as soon as we get a few successful POCs [proofs of concept] in place.”

Establishing OWS Saudi Arabia in KAEC will lay the foundations for the company’s wider investment plans in the kingdom.

“Saudi is an important piece of our global expansion plan and I will be spending a lot of time in the kingdom,” said Zahran. 

OWS Automotive’s arrival in Q1 2023 will help ease market pressures given that sourcing automobile parts has proven to be a challenge within Saudi over recent months owing to supply chain disruptions. This has pushed up automobile insurance premiums. 

“Part of our phase one plan is to establish a dedicated remanufacturing facility that will be able to take any spare part and remanufacture it to an almost new condition,” said Zahran. 

“In the UAE we service around 50,000 vehicles every year and have a track record of saving customers AED1.3 billion ($354 million) over the last seven years. 

“This also has huge environmental benefits because in remanufacturing these units and parts we’re saving, on average, 85 percent of the energy and raw materials required to manufacture a new engine.”