Kuwait - Country Commercial Guide
Automobile and Automotive Parts

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-03-16

Overview

Kuwait is a significant importer of new American automobiles and is the eighth-largest U.S. export market for automobiles worldwide. The low cost of fuel, combined with local tastes and preferences, buttresses demand for large-sized automobiles. With U.S. automobile exports (excluding military vehicles) to Kuwait valued at $784,799,791 million in 2018, this is the largest sector for U.S. exporters in the consumer market. In 2018, Kuwait imported 92,633 new vehicles. Japanese cars have the largest market share with 54.64%, U.S. brands are the second with 17.4% market share, Korean brands are third with 11.87%, followed by 10.8% share for European brands. With 43% of the market, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) are the dominant vehicle type in Kuwait. Also, Kuwait is  an excellent market for high-end luxury and vintage automobiles. An increased number of Chinese brands are entering the market. Selling at very low prices, Chinese brands are used among others in the construction sector and food delivery business the segments which were dominated by Korean brands in the past. Chinese brands have 4.22% of the market share.

The automotive aftermarket is growing in Kuwait and other GCC countries by about 14%. Local experts estimated the value of the market to be $1.3 billion for Kuwait in 2017. Having a large used car market is helping to increase the demand for spare parts and maintenance services. In addition, Kuwait witnessed a bad weather in December 2018. An extended days of heavy rains caused roads to be flooded and brought down trees. The sever road damage has boomed the sales of spare parts like tires which believed to be tripled during the 1st quarter of 2019.  U.S. parts sales valued at $41.5 million in 2018.

Opportunities

Kuwait is a lucrative market for large-sized SUVs with heavy-duty shock absorbers, transmissions, cooling and air conditioning systems, and tires that meet extreme temperatures. Luxury automobile manufacturers will also find Kuwait to be a lucrative market. Given Kuwait’s leading position in supply chain and logistics services to Iraq and Afghanistan, local companies are selling large volumes of trucks to serve logistics companies catering to U.S. and coalition forces in the region. Most auto dealers note that the utility vehicle market demonstrates tremendous volume growth. While Kuwait increased gasoline prices by 40% on September 1, 2016, the prices are still among the lowest in the world – approximately $1.15 per gallon, which propels sales for SUVs and other large engine vehicles.

The Kuwait International Fair hosts an annual automobile exhibition in December. Information can be found on the KIF website. The largest Gulf auto show takes place in Dubai. Visit the Dubai Motor Show website for more information.

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Middle East Development Conference is the premier automotive specialty products trade event featuring specialty equipment. The show is held annually in March in Abu Dhabi. For more details, please visit the SEMA Middle East website.

Automechanika Dubai is the region’s largest and most comprehensive trade and networking exhibition for the automotive aftermarket. The show is held annually in May and dozens of American companies participate in this show. Please visit the Automechanika Dubai Website.

Automechanika Frankfurt is the world’s leading Trade Fair for the Automotive Industry. Automechanika offers a unique spectrum of products from the fields of automotive parts, car washing, workshop and filling-station equipment, IT product and services, accessories and tuning. It takes place every September. Visit the Frankfurt Automechanika webpage for more details.

The U.S. Embassy Commercial Section is recruiting a delegation of Kuwaiti buyers to the SEMA show in Las Vegas November 2-5, 2021. Visit the SEMA show webpage for more information about the show.

Web Resources

For additional information on automobiles and the auto parts industry, please contact Commercial Specialist Xavier Muthu at Xavier.Muthu@trade.gov.