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United Arab Emirates Autos Report Q2 2012
Business Monitor International, April 2012, Pages: 66
Business Monitor International's United Arab Emirates Autos Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, auto associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on United Arab Emirates's automotive industry.
While the last months of 2011 are reported to have resembled the days of 2008, and the depths of the global financial crisis, BMI foresees modest growth in the UAE auto market throughout the rest of 2012. There are several reasons for this fluctuation. A report by Gulf News suggests that the drop in sales at the end of 2011 was connected to shaken consumer confidence due to the European debt crisis. However, a raft of special cut price deals and targeted advertising appears to have drawn consumers back to showrooms through the first quarter of 2012, especially buoyed by the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF).
We see this as indicative of our general view of sales in the UAE over 2012 – which BMI views as 455,102. This is modest growth in relation to 2011, which saw 448,569 vehicles sold. Increase growth comes off a number of factors. Oil prices are at a recent high, and macro political factors over the course of 2012 look likely to maintain this trend – in particular with fears over the intention of the Iranian regime regarding the Straits of Hormuz. Beyond this, the spectre of the Arab Spring still haunts the Gulf, and has encouraged larger than normal pay-outs to citizens from governments in the region. This has had a noticeable effect on disposable incomes – a sector of spending that traditionally has gone towards purchases such as vehicles. Spending by the government in the UAE has taken the form of a package of US$1.9bn on housing loans, as well as a US$1.35bn spend on water and infrastructure projects in the Northern Emirates.
BMW experienced a record sales tally in 2011 throughout the ME region, with 47% of these vehicles being sold in the UAE. The fourth quarter was one of the best ever had by the group, with nearly 5,000 vehicles being sold. This pushed the Middle East region into being the third place globally in terms of volume and represents a 9% growth for BMW in the Middle East over 2010 volumes. However, expectations of a slowdown are being headed off through the release of new vehicles, such as the launch of the new 3 series. Additionally, the Middle East has significant organic growth capacity, with the Iraqi market expecting to become more open over the course of the year, as well as enough volume in Jordan for a new importer to be appointed.
In Q112, AB Volvo, the Sweden based producer of large commercial vehicles, announced its intention to expand its present in the ME region. This includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. Anders Osberg, the CFO of Volvo Group, has said that the group is targeting financial institutions and banks in order to make financing this market penetration more plausible. This development looks likely to push the ME market up 30% by 2015 – which will be balanced by a shrinkage in the size of the European market. It is predicted that the European heavy truck market will slip by 10% in 2012, and perhaps more in the coming years.
However, the market in luxury car modifications grows apace, with ‘bespoke’ becoming a model which both Rolls Royce and Bentley have adopted. These modifications come in the post-purchase phase, where the company makes unique changes to usually aesthetic elements of the vehicle. These are high value-add modifications, with custom paintwork starting at around US$15-20,000, according to Arabian Business Weekly, and some other modifications costing up to US$100,000 per car. It is reported that this trend is increasing, with customisation of vehicles looking to be a major driver of growth in the coming years, as consumers attempt to make their own vehicles as exclusive as possible.
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