Dubai: Not sure about buying a new car given your financial position and the state of the job market? You could always try leasing as an option…
Car dealerships in the UAE are actively pushing leasing programmes starting from as low as Dh1,000 a month, with the option of actually owning the vehicle at a later date if the financial situation improves. And it does not stop there…
These deals are also coming with optional ‘job loss’ insurance cover, as dealerships escalate their efforts to convince buyers to opt to lease/buy a new car. In the current climate of concern about the COVID-19 and the risk of infection, dealerships insist that leasing a new vehicle is the less-expensive option to ensuring safety against the virus. Get your own drive is the message…
Karl Hamer of Adamas Motors, the place to be for a Lotus, says the lease-to-buy option has taken its time to reach the UAE… but now it is likely to stay put. “In my opinion, this is only correct as has historically been seen in the US and European markets for years,” Hamer said. “It reduces [financial] exposure whilst at the same time giving customers opportunity to change their vehicles more frequently… [and] with more flexibility.
“in the new world we are all, in customers are looking for a more secure way of obtaining their new vehicles. And we are seeing them being more discerning.
Will it be difficult to convince buyers who are so used to owning a car than ‘renting’ one? “The luxury car buyer in the UAE is one of the most discerning - successful people are willing to change their buying process when it makes sense,” Hamer added.
All bases covered
It’s not just the premium car dealerships coming up with lease offers. Cutting across vehicle makes, they now have ultra-competitive leasing rates, which they believe will sustain demand in the car market until sales recover. Since the start of the year, overall new car sales in the UAE are down 30-40 per cent, with the stoppage of commercial activity during the pandemic peak leaving a severe dent. Since June, recovery has been on the slow track.
But dealerships are not waiting around for buyers to get their confidence back in buying. “Dealerships offer affordable finance solutions as well as additional service contracts with each purchased new car, including deferred payments, free registrations, discounts on spare parts, and free tinting among others,” said Suliman Al Zaben, Director of Hyundai UAE - Juma Al Majid Est.
“Ultimately, our aim is to present end-users with a choice of solutions and attractive bank rates. No one can predict what will happen - but we are following the updated trends and the situation is improving. We hope that things go back to normal soon.”
This is where leasing programmes come in – as a sort of bridge to convincing consumers they can opt for a new car of their choice… and in ways that will not prove a financial burden.
Al Tayer Motors has launched leases on Ford vehicles from Dh1,799 a month onwards. If the inclination is for a Jaguar, opt to lease from Dh3,699. “We understand that flexibility is essential for a great journey in life… and on the roads,” is how a spokesperson at Al Tayer Motors puts it. “We offer the best ride with a simple and straightforward leasing deal.”
Each of these contracts – usually for a one- to three-year period - come with an assured buyback. Dealerships are also throwing in incentives such as waiving down payments, insurance and processing fees.
On the completion of the leasing, the vehicles can be exchanged to newer models or kept based on a pre-approved price. Then there is the ‘job loss’ cover, which is optional.
“At a time when people are extra conscious of their spending, we introduced the new leasing feature to grant those looking to own a new Nissan the opportunity to drive one with the least commitment,” said Salah Yamout, Chief Operating Officer at Arabian Automobiles Company. “And the option to own it at the end of the cycle.”
Under the deal, they will be billed based on mileage — 25,000 kilometres per year for individual leasing. (For businesses, the campaign offers fixed monthly payments, no down payment and 100 per cent recoverable VAT.)
Dealerships are placing hope on some marked improvement in demand in the final three months of the year. In a best-case scenario, if they can bring their full-year sales to 10-15 per cent down from last year, then 2020 will not be a complete washout.
In a recent status report, leading dealerships in Dubai emphasized the need to bring about massive restructuring in their operations. This was what they listed as priorities:
• New leasing models and offerings targeting shared mobility;
• Optimize network footprint with new online tools and retail formats;
• Integrated digital strategy to provide the best customer experience;
• Upgrade used car business setup targeting both B2B and B2C;
• Implement new financial offerings to target new customer segments; and
• Limit number of large physical showrooms and expand digital tools.
Online reach out
Dealerships are finally getting the hang of trying to sell through online channels. Or at least use these to impress a potential buyer or lessor. The need to have a dynamic portal has filtered down to just about every dealer in town.
“It’s the easiest way to remain in touch with existing owners – after-sales will be a big part of the post-COVID-19 recovery,” said the regional head of one of the leading carmakers. “Our dealer-partners in the Gulf have understood this.
"But online is also the quickest way to convince potential buyers. Dealerships have to get their acts together online and not just leave it to the manufacturers.”
For now, they are trying to do all that… and using leasing as a major component in their task to convince UAE drivers to make the switch to a new car. Sales will happen in its own time.