New car sales drop 50%, used prices up: Dubicars

By DG Staff

DUBAI 17 December 2019: From the moment you decide to replace your existing car with a secondhand upgrade or to bite the bullet and purchase a new vehicle, there’s a sense of anticipation and excitement.

For many buyers, only a new car will do. However, Craig Stevens, CEO at, explains the website’s recent research shows there has never been a better time for UAE drivers to opt for a used car and you may be able to afford a better car than you think.

RTA data on registered active light vehicles reports the average age of a car on Dubai roads is eight years. Stevens said, “The country’s car parc is getting older. What that means is people are holding onto their vehicles for longer, choosing to maintain and repair rather than trading their car in for a newer model. This, in addition to a decreased supply of new cars, a 50 per cent reduction in new car sales over the last two to three years and increased demand for used cars, has led to the increase in the price of and demand for used cars.”

Collaborating with AlgoDriven, a technology solutions provider offering accurate and real-time data to the automotive industry, Dubicars has spent the last 12 months analysing transaction data and its in-depth research on the UAE’s used car market finds the retained value for used vehicles has increased versus previous years, with a comparable car costing 4-10 per cent more this year compared to 2018.

Stevens hopes this information will empower the UAE’s consumers to make well-informed decisions and lift the spirits of the country’s car dealers who have, in recent years, hit a speed bump when it comes to selling new cars.

Despite costing more, used cars are selling faster. According to Dubicars’ data on sold cars, dealers are selling vehicles 7.5 days faster than in 2018 and privately owned cars are selling in 17.8 days, down by 6.4 days. The company has also experienced a surge in business, with traffic to its website growing by 70 per cent and leads increasing by 80 per cent.

15-30% drop in new car value

Stevens estimates a new car will experience a drop in value of between 15-30 per cent within the first year. Conversely, Dubicars’ research shows the depreciation rate for used cars is slowing down, which is a trend the UAE automotive market has not previously seen.

Craig Stevens

The data also shows people are making buying decisions based not on the total ticket price of a car. Instead, they are looking at what they can afford to pay each month and are trying to find the best deal that fits their budget.

If managed correctly, this new information could have a significant impact on the UAE’s automotive industry.

Stevens explained, “I think the changes we are seeing are great news for the industry. The market has been chasing price reductions for too long but, now the market is stable in terms of the demand for new cars, car dealers have a chance to start strengthening and controlling used car pricing. If this is done sensibly, it will enable them to better control pricing on new vehicles as well.

“It’s even better news for consumers. They are going to lose less money on their cars when they sell them. Also, if they use the proper channels, which don’t require them to sell their car to a company who then sells it on to someone else, they are going to sell their cars in eleven to 17 days and get a maximum return by cutting out the middle man. This gives them the opportunity to buy an even better car. It’s good for the consumer. It’s good for the dealer. It’s good for the industry, but the industry will have to change to make these things happen.”

Stevens concluded he is optimistic about the used car market in the next twelve to 24 months and does not expect used cars will depreciate as fast as they have in the past. Based on the insights it has gained, Dubicars is going to continue analysing the data and sharing its insights with the industry to help buyers and sellers alike make better, more informed decisions. He said the company remains committed to solving real issues the automotive market is facing and is confident the company can speed up the used car market by bringing increased levels of transparency, trust and ease.