Dubai: Car sales in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan (MEAP) region are likely to get a major boost in the next two years, when nearly eight out of every 10 people will buy a new or pre-owned vehicle, a new survey suggests.
According to a new study by Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, demand for automobiles in the MEAP region, as well as in Latin America, will be the strongest in the world, with 75 per cent of consumers saying they intend to buy a car in the next couple of years.
Nielsen’s Global Survey of Automotive Demand polled more than 30,000 Internet users in 60 countries to identify where vehicle demand is greatest and find out the common motivators for car purchase.
Demand will be second strongest in Asia-Pacific, where 72 per cent of respondents intend to buy a car. More than half of North Americans (56 per cent) and half of Europeans (50 per cent) expect to acquire a new or used car in the next 24 months. Within the MEAP region, demand will be highest in Pakistan (78 per cent), followed by UAE, Egypt (74 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (72 per cent).
Akash Pal, executive director for consumer insights at Nielsen Africa and Middle East, said the strong demand can be attributed to the increase in consumer confidence levels and growing expatriate population. The positive business environment, competitive interest rates and ownership costs, as well as the lack of more efficient public transportation, are also lifting car demand in the region.
“We expect a surge in demand based on [the factors mentioned]. It will also mean increased competition as consumers will expect better value for money and more importantly, after sales service,” Pal told Gulf News.
For the last few years following the global recession, car sales have enjoyed a steady recovery, with automobile dealers reporting double-digit sales growth. Porsche Middle East recently reported a 26 per cent jump in sales between 2012 and 2013. German car giant Audi Middle East recorded a 16.3 per cent growth across the GCC and Levant during the same period.
“The current public transport system is evolving at a very fast pace in Dubai, however, personal transport is still considered a must here,” said Robin The, MRIC country manager and UAE director of valuations and advisory at Chesterton Middle East and North Africa.
He said that Dubai’s successful bid to host the World Expo in 2020, the present surge in the UAE economy and growing number of expatriates will influence the demand for personal transport and “trigger the growth parameters” for the automobile industry. “This will also have an impact on our cars valuation business,” he added.
It’s not just new cars that are selling well. In the UAE, consumers are spending Dh50,000 to Dh60,000 on second-hand vehicles. According to Carla Magano, sales representative at Philippine Used Cars in Sharjah, sales of pre-owned vehicles are on the up.
“There’s been a fast turnover of stocks at our showroom. Of the 20 to 25 units that we get monthly, we sell 15 cars. We’ve been getting more inquiries from potential buyers. The rise in demand has been due to faster loan approvals and easier access to car financing,” Magano told Gulf News.