Worldwide Auctioneers will live up to its name this fall when it stages the first Riyadh collector car auction and salon, scheduled for November 21-26 in Saudi Arabia’s capital city.
The auction and salon will be part of a week-long automotive festival, said John Kruse, co-principal of the Indiana-based auction company. Florida-based but Swedish-owned Bonnier Events is working with Worldwide and the Saudi government in staging the festival.
“We’ve been working on it for a little while,” Kruse said. “In my belief, Saudi Arabia is possibly the top emerging market worldwide right now (for collector cars). The Crown Prince has certainly made some moves — women having driver’s licenses, opened flexibility with modified automobiles — as part of his 2030 plan to reduce the emphasis on just oil by creating some additional cultural and entertainment and automotive-type events.
“For them (the government) to be fully backing the largest-ever Middle East automotive festival for five days is huge.
“To conduct the first-ever auction and private sales makes for a spectacular opportunity.”
Collector car auction veteran Andy Stone is working with Worldwide in securing assignments for the sale, which comes during a busy time for Worldwide, which has auctions in mid-August in Pacific Grove, California; over the Labor Day weekend back home in Auburn, Indiana; a single-consignor event in early October in Corpus Christi, Texas; as well as an auction in January in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Consignments for the Saudi auction and sales salon need to be made by September 6 so more than 300 vehicles — a few more than 100 for the auction, the others for the sales salon — can be shipped across the Atlantic Ocean on a Saudi vessel.
“We’re putting together a diverse offering for both the one-day auction and a more expanded private sales salon,” Kruse said.
Kruse said the Saudi government sought such a sales setup “and felt we were the best fit both in terms of the style in which we do things and that we’re a size where we can be nimble and flexible enough to do this.”
He added that Worldwide anticipates that the Riyadh automotive festival and Worldwide auction will become an annual event, and perhaps not the only such overseas opportunity for the company he owns with partner Rod Egan.
“We’re always looking at different markets,” Kruse said. “While we do continue to look at all options, we’re pretty focused on this right now. We really want to make this a success, and then we’ll look further.”
Kruse sees the new auction as much more than a sales opportunity.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of exposure to all things religious and political and have a pretty good understanding of the region,” he added. “We’ll be able to mesh well.
“It’s an important culture in today’s world and to have a common interest (can be crucial), the automobile brings a lot of people together.”