The second company to be founded in Saudi Arabia, Haji Husein Alireza & Co Ltd (HHA)
traces its beginnings to 1906, when it started operating as a diversified trading group that focused mainly on foodstuffs, building materials and jewellery. Twenty years later, Sheikh Ali Alireza, the founder’s son, initiated commercial automobile operations until HHA chose to specialise in it almost exclusively in the mid-1970s. At the moment, HHA has adjacent interests in real estate and IT, but auto trade remains its main focus.
Low energy prices and high economic growth are driving demand for vehicles in the kingdom, which is the largest auto market in the Middle East, with yearly sales expected to exceed 1 million units by 2018. This state of affairs has led many auto dealers to set up shop in Saudi Arabia in recent years. But none of the recent entrants are comparable to HHA, a company that has spent over 80 years fine-tuning its nationwide network of service centres and its after-sales customer service to perfection.
HHA operates numerous dealerships from 16 locations that correspond to the largest economic centres in Saudi Arabia, including the capital, Riyadh, the business hub of Jeddah, the religious centres of Mecca and Medina, and the Eastern Province industrial cities of Dammam and Al Khobar. Its extensive network makes HHA a truly national company that can provide customer support anywhere in the kingdom.
In addition to being an emblematic company, the evolution of which has largely reflected the development of the country as a whole, HHA prides itself on its impressive portfolio of brands, starting with Studebaker, Nash, Hupp Mobile and Mercedes in its first decades of operations and on to Mazda, Aston Martin, MAN Trucks, Peugeot, Geely, Geely Emgrand and Yuejin at the moment.
|HHA operates dealerships in 16 locations that correspond to the kingdom’s largest economic centres |
The eclectic choice of brands is proof of HHA’s openness to lucrative collaborations with business partners from all over the world, and also of the experimental nature and growing needs of the Saudi clientele. The brands HHA represents have demonstrated their dedication to the Saudi communities in which they operate by sponsoring events like the Jeddah Marathon, for which Mazda is a Gold Sponsor.
Sheikh Amin Abulhasan, HHA’s Chairman, identifies patience and persistence as the key differentiators for HHA: “When Sheikh Ali Alireza, the company’s founder, came up with the idea of importing cars, his family did not believe it would succeed. But he persevered and, almost 90 years later, the business is still going strong. Other dealers come and go, but our persistence has made the difference.”
According to Sheikh Abulhasan, persistence and patience are necessary attributes for any professional working with vehicles.
Several years ago, HHA branched out into manufacturing by partnering up with MAN Trucks to build an assembly plant in Jeddah. HHA is dedicated to training all its employees on the job, as the demand for skilled mechanics continues to grow and a preference is given to locals in support of the government’s Saudisation programme. Production of spare parts in general is reportedly a promising sector within the automotive industry, and one that will have a major impact on the economy, as it would generate numerous highly specialised jobs for the Saudi youth.