Dubai Car manufacturers yesterday made their predictions for the future of the UAE automotive industry.
“We’re expecting the car market to continue with its high level of growth in the UAE. The country is coming back economically and we expect the UAE car market to grow on par with GDP which is about 4-4.5 per cent per annum.
“There is a higher demand for rental cars which means more people are coming into the auto market. There’s also a trend to turn away from big 4X4s to smaller 4x4s as buyers take fuel efficiency and the environment into consideration. Car manufacturers will be working to lower the UAE carbon footprint by 2012.”
The company introduced the hybrid Prius model and have been testing it with a taxi fleet for the best part of two years. They say that hybrid models had not previously been tested in the harsh UAE weather conditions.
“So far there have been no mechanical failures which means hybrid cars can withstand the weather. So expect to see more of them,” said Andrew Squires, national sales and distribution manager at Toyota.
“Right now it’s very unpredictable. From one day to the next you don’t know what is happening, especially with the current state of the European markets.
“The route we’re going in is smaller, more economical engines with more efficiency. Under our segmentation I’m pushing to have more sedans. We do lose out on market share and lose considerably in sales.”
He added that driving schools prefer to buy sedans over hatchbacks because they want to see if their students can drive larger cars.
“Also people are looking at having a decent boot size. In 2013 we’re looking to have more of these models in our line,” he said.
“In the earlier part of this year we saw an increase in rental sales partly because of the unstable situation of the world economy, new finance regulations and job insecurity. Now in the second quarter we’re seeing this turn around. More people are buying because they’re more confident about their job security and they’re happier to pay the high security deposit because it means they have to pay less interest in the future.
“Eco-friendly products are also going to increase dramatically,” said Jeremy Weatherhill, divisional manager, Al Nabooda, exclusive distributor of the Peugeot.
“There is a positive trend in the market, not for two-digit growth, but for robust one-digit growth,” he added.
SUVs have always been the biggest segment in the UAE market, and will continue to be, dealers say. But consumers could soon begin to go for more affordable sedan models in the face of economic uncertainty and rising fuel prices. There has also a big trend in people downgrading their models for more manageable payment instalments.
“One of the big themes is the new technology is going to be hybrid technology. The hybrid model is not adapting and the acceptance hasn’t been as wide as expected, but it will gradually grow and become the selected technology,” said Axel Dreyer, general manager at Mazda.