There is a certain dynamism that follows this man as a walks into the room and rightfully so. Shehab Gargash, CEO of Gargash Group, Chairman of Daman Investments is a charismatic individual with interests in art, finance, automotive and most of all, his collection of boarding passes which he cherishes dearly.
In our third episode of Autofocus, we talk to the man driving the Gargash Group forward with his vision and passion for success. So how does he do it? How difficult is it to balance between running Daman Investments, which was founded in 2000 and manages assets over $1.5bn and Gargash Group, an automotive powerhouse representing brands like Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo and GAC in Dubai and the UAE?
Right from the onset, he acknowledges the challenge the industry is facing. People are slowly moving on from owning a car to accessing it as and when they need it. Cars are no longer a necessity but a convenience. Electrification and autonomous vehicles are also evolving at a rapid rate.
"The Middle East is full of extremely capable automotive people that may find themselves out of the market because the market is shifting. We have to adjust and embrace the new imperatives of the auto trade."
Fondly remembering his first car, which was a used Mercedes-Benz 230 GE short wheelbase, he highlights how things have changed over the years. The automotive industry is facing its biggest threat, something it’s never faced over the last 130 years. It’s about how the automobile is perceived in today’s day and age.
Leveraging data and acknowledging the importance of digital platforms in influencing consumer buying decisions, he stresses on the fact that it is important to redefine the user experience and the whole journey of car buying as we know it. Traditional methods will be rendered obsolete and new ways of attracting and retaining customers are needed.
Moving on to the investments required in showrooms, processes, people, etc., he discusses the investments required in the showrooms of the future. Highlighting how disruptive companies like Tesla are redefining car sales as we know it. Even if you look at the traditional dealers and the reason why they evolved, it paints a clear picture of how necessity and efficiency are the reason industries get disrupted.
With regards to Tesla, he adds, “Their model is successful in Southern California and New York, but will it be successful in the whole of USA, Europe or even the rest of the world? That is yet to be seen.”
"The Tesla model is successful in Southern California and New York, but will it be successful in the whole of USA, Europe or even the rest of the world? That is yet to be seen.”
The podcast continues to highlight how Gargash Group (an AMENA member) is looking to evolve as the automotive landscape keeps changing as well as employment and the challenges in understanding today, what the company of tomorrow might need in terms of manpower, skill and expertise.
Listen to the full episode to learn more on Shehab Gargash’s take on the automotive business and the future of mobility.