New cars on their way to a showroom in Dubai. Several factors would affect high car sales figures; among them are liquidity and market confidence. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Bahrain had the worst record for new car sales among Gulf states in the first three months of the year, with volumes down a whopping 41 per cent, according to Autodata estimates.

The consultancy reckons that Saudi Arabia saw a 38 per cent dip during the same period while UAE’s was by 28 per cent.

“This decline in activity resulted in dealers and distributors holding too much stock of both new and used cars,” Autodata reports.

“By the end of Q1, we saw the increase in consumer offers as the industry tried to generate showroom traffic.

“The manufacturers increased their financial support on new cars which then put pressure on their certified pre-owned car pricing which made them uncompetitive.”

This meant that by the time the Ramadan promotions started, Gulf auto dealerships were pulling all stops to get some demand coming in.

Zero deposit, zero finance

The “Buy-now-pay-next-Ramadan” incentive became a regular feature, as did 0 per cent finance and zero deposit, extended warranty and three- to five-year service contracts.

“In some cases, all of these were available,” the consultancy states.

“Again, manufacturers provided the distributors with the financial support to pay for these offers.

“While it is still too early for any firm numbers, the feedback we have received from our contacts indicates that the Ramadan/Eid period did see some increase in showroom traffic — but sales levels were just classed as normal.

"As expected, those with the “biggest” consumer offers reigned supreme is the indication so far.”