Now, Nissan is helping some of the millions of Saudi women who have been only passengers in their lifetimes learn safe driving skills, with a surprise group of driving instructors.
Nissan set up a road course in a huge, empty parking lot of a the Nissan Saudi Arabia corporate facility, to help women learn the skills of accelerating and braking, steering and parking, and anticipating the road ahead.
All the women participants said they were excited and delighted by the prospect of driving, even though they faced some reluctance from some of their family members.
So who were the surprise instructors Nissan matched them up with? Their own fathers, husbands and brothers, who were driving teachers for the day.
Watch these women get behind the wheel for the first time, with English subtitles:
The program is part of Nissan’s #SheDrives campaign, which encourages women to embrace the exciting prospect of becoming fully licensed drivers in September, 2018.
Allowing women to drive also means women will be able to get jobs driving taxis. Saudi’s Kaleej Times predicts there will be 10,000 women driving taxes before long, which makes good business sense, since women represent 80 per cent of Uber’s Saudi rider base and 70 per cent of business for its Dubai-based counterpart car service company Careem.
The prospect of millions of new drivers is also appealing to auto manufacturers. So much so that there was an auto show for women only in Jeddah in January.
2018 is to be a “pivotal moment in history for women in the kingdom,” said Bader Al Houssami, chief operating officer at Nissan Saudi Arabia, in a press release shared with ecoXplorer.
“We wanted to launch a campaign that’s just as emotional as it’s innovative, which ultimately is at the heart of what we at Nissan strive to achieve.
The #SheDrives campaign aims to motivate women all over Saudi Arabia with a clear message: When the time comes, the decision to drive will be entirely yours.”
A direct link to the video can be found at My.Nissan/She-Drives. Nissan Saudi Arabia invites viewers to share their reactions to the video and their messages of support by using the hashtag #SheDrives.