The UAE’s big car market overview and all you need to know about buying and selling cars

What is going on in the UAE car market? What are the trends?

As the Founder & CEO of SellAnyCar.com – Mr. Saygin Yalcin , the Middle East’s first and largest car buyer, I would like to share some insights about the market with you.

Millions of people have used us, actually over 20% of the UAE population is registered with SellAnyCar.com. This way, we have been able to get a good overview of the market and its trends. While we all see the used car market growing compared to the stagnating and even shrinking new car market, we are not surprised about this development, as this is a sign of any developing automotive market. Within the next decade, the used car market will be 3 times bigger than the new car market. Another major trend we see is that consumers are fleeing the classifieds websites, which is an unmanaged marketplace experience. Consumers are using car buying experts to sell their cars to increase profits, maintain privacy and save time. 85% of players on classifieds are dealers (mostly disguised as consumers). Over 95% of our customers use SellAnyCar.com first, before trying anywhere else, as it is free and has a success rate exceeding 50% within 30 minutes. 100% receive an offer and a free car inspection report.

See the table below, why people are selling their cars. In 2018, close to 15% of consumers sold their cars for financial reasons. A number, which grew by 63% compared to 2016. The number of people, who were planning to purchase another car afterwards declined by 18%, while the people mentioning leaving the country as a reason increased by 25% in the same period. We see that there have been less transactions in the car market overall. We also believe that during the “good” times people had more cars than necessary and are disposing of them currently – a number which has grown by 16% since 2016.

Reasons for selling a car 2016 2017 2018 Total
Buying a new one 54.5% 46.7% 44.2% 49.9%
Do not want a car 2.2% 0.7% 0.0% 1.3%
Financial reasons 9.3% 13.4% 14.7% 11.7%
Moving 17.8% 19.9% 22.2% 19.3%
Having too many cars 15.8% 19.0% 18.3% 17.4%
Inherited 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Unwanted gift 0.4% 0.3% 0.6% 0.4%

 On another note, we see that women are more and more confident of selling and buying their cars on their own, rather than leaving it up to male family members or friends. We believe that SellAnyCar.com has been a major driver of this development as it has removed the used car transaction hassles and introduced a convenient, fast and fair way of selling and buying cars in 17 malls throughout the country.

The percentage of women selling their cars on their own has grown by close to 50% since 2014, while it is still a male-dominated segment (83%).

People selling their cars
Gender 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Female 11.71% 14.17% 16.99% 17.02% 17.45%
Male 88.29% 85.83% 83.01% 82.98% 82.55%

Another interesting finding is that females own slightly younger cars and are selling them faster. While the average age of a car in the UAE is 6.86 years, males drive cars 6.92 years old and females 6.57 years old on average.

Average Car Age (Years) 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Female 5.97 6.11 6.03 6.37 6.57
Male 7.40 6.40 6.52 6.63 6.92
Grand Total 7.23 6.36 6.43 6.58 6.86

The UAE government has implemented stricter rules on imported cars and we can only support that decision. If you compare cars by specs, you will see that over 30% of cars with US/Canada specs in the UAE have had a chassis problem, while cars with GCC specs have significantly less chassis problems with only 3.6%. It clearly underlines bad practice of importers trying to hide major problems of US imported cars. This number has declined significantly since the UAE has implemented a thorough check at the borders beginning of 2016. The number has dropped by 34% within 2 years.

Chassis Issues
Specs 2015 2016 2017
European 7.03% 9.84% 4.55%
GCC 9.17% 5.57% 3.54%
Japan 20.31% 10.26% 6.03%
Other 13.47% 12.15% 6.25%
US/Canada 46.93% 37.32% 30.80%

Given the above changes and learnings, GCC spec cars now make up over 91% of all cars in the UAE, grown by 22% since 2014.

Specs 2014 2015 2016 2017
GCC 74.69% 77.67% 90.53% 91.21%

The most popular cars in the UAE are Japanese and the market share has grown to 41%, which is an increase of 25% since 2014. Among the 3 biggest car manufacturers, the biggest loser have been American cars with a loss of over 18%, followed by the German cars losing 11% market share since 2014. American cars make up 18%, German cars have 23% market share. There has also been a significant decrease in cars from other European manufacturers.

Manufacturer 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
American 22.53% 19.25% 19.71% 19.59% 18.39%
British 4.39% 3.58% 4.22% 4.18% 4.90%
German 26.16% 25.33% 26.07% 24.27% 23.20%
Japanese 32.65% 38.03% 37.59% 39.47% 40.81%
Korean 7.32% 7.89% 6.88% 7.40% 8.15%
Other European 6.91% 5.86% 5.23% 4.79% 4.19%
Other 0.03% 0.06% 0.30% 0.29% 0.37%

Last but not least, we can testify the obvious: GCC nationals prefer white cars, followed by black and silver (and Oceanians agree), while the rest of the world prefers black cars, followed by white and silver.

Color Preferences by Nationality (Region):

Five years ago, I was trying to sell my car in Dubai and realized how difficult, lengthy and risky it was. I was not an automotive expert, did not know much more than the make, model and year of my car, let alone anything about the required legal second hand car selling process.

3 months later, I have founded SellAnyCar.com, the Middle East’s first car buying service, which guarantees to purchase any car within 30 minutes. Now, we have served over 20% of the entire UAE’s population and became the largest used car buyer in the region. During the World Government Summit, HH Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed, Minister of Interior of the UAE, presented SellAnyCar.com as an inspiring story for the country, in the presence of world leaders, incl. HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

I came to the UAE, because I see it as a land of opportunity. In order to be successful as a business, it needs to add value to the market. It needs to solve a problem. At the core of SellAnyCar.com, we still see ourselves as consumers. I was one of the consumers who were fed up with unmanaged classified websites connecting me with a bunch of time-wasters. Hence, SellAnyCar.com was born.

Here are a few more tips I would like to give you, while selling your car:

  • Check SellAnyCar.com’s online car valuation for a free estimate
  • Do not rely on online classifieds prices, as they are merely wishlists of other sellers
  • Selling to consumers will mostly require you to fix all damages your car might have. This might cost you a hefty repair bill.
  • Hiding damages of your car to a consumer, which endanger the roadworthiness, might leave you with warranty claims by the buyer 6 months down the road.
  • How will you get paid? Selling to a consumer bears the risk of not getting paid, receiving bouncing cheques or getting paid with fake cash.
  • Do not waste too much time trying to sell your car, while your car depreciates in value every day.
  • Do not pay to sell your car
  • Avoid risky test drives with strangers
  • Keep your privacy. Do not share your home address or personal phone number with random people.
  • If you have a car, which is older than 1 or 2 years, most dealers will not consider it worth their showroom real estate and reject.
  • Do not pay for a car inspection to evaluate your car
  • You do not have to promise to buy a car, in order to be able to sell your car.
  • You do not have to drive long distances or compare several dealers. SellAnyCar.com is located nationwide, which saves you time and money.
  • Your car’s value does not depend on a dealer’s brand focus, inventory situation or perception of the market. Only a true marketplace based on demand and supply can determine your car’s real value. Use SellAnyCar.com’s free and international car pricing and selling mechanism.
  • Remember, your car might be worth more in a different country.
  • Make sure to check the dealer’s trade license, which should read “Used Car Trading”, nothing else.
  • Do not fall prey to fraudulent car buyers. Make sure you are dealing with “SellAnyCar.com”, not anybody, which just sounds similar or claims same services.
  • Sign a binding, certified purchase agreement with the buyer, before transferring title (SellAnyCar.com has certified purchase agreements [“Mubaya”])
  • Do not accept cheques from strangers
  • Make sure the company you are dealing with is reputable and licensed appropriately.
  • If your car has an outstanding loan, make sure to request a liability letter from your bank.
  • After selling, make sure to remove your personal belongings, number plate and salik tag from your car.
  • After title transfer, ask for a copy of the new ownership certificate of your car, send it to your insurance company to receive a potential refund and notify them about the change in title.
  • If you are selling to a stranger or unknown dealer and are not sure, if you will get paid, use an escrow payment service, which will cost you a significant amount of money.
  • All in all, selling privately might leave you with less cash in your hands due to loss in time (and hence car depreciation) and transaction costs, including costs of reducing risk and process education.
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