Stock-Exceed (VX)
The Exeed VX. Exeed will launch a series of SUVs through its new parnership with Al Ghurair Investment. The UAE car market is heating up with competition from Chinese-owned brands. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai; The full weight of Chinese car brands will be felt in the UAE market this year, with three leading manufacturers confirming their dealerships in recent days.

If the Chinese EV maker BYD signed up with Al-Futtaim, then the SUV-focused Exeed aligned with Al Ghurair Investment, and there is Geely who has partnered AGMC, the Dubai and Northern Emirates dealership for BMW, Rolls-Royce Motors and the MINI. And then, just recently, there was the Saudi dealer who launched the premium Chinese make Hongqi with a showroom in Abu Dhabi.

They will look to build on gains already made by the likes of MG Motors (the British brand that has China’s SAIC Motor as the owner) and Changan, whose SUVs are proving quite popular. “Chinese-made new car sales in the UAE made up about 4-5 per cent of the overall in 2022,” said the CEO of one of the biggest dealerships in the YAE. “They have now a good base and network to build on, especially if car buyers in the UAE turn to more affordable EVs and hybrids.”

Read More

Aggressive on pricing, the Chinese car makes and their dealerships will be. Hongqi sales, for instance, will be backed by 7-year warranties.

“Chinese models are no longer about pricing alone – they have all the features owners would want from any other manufacturer,” said the CEO. “UAE car buyers are not ones to buy just because the price is lower.”

According to market sources, it’s only a question of how soon Chinese brands’ market share will double in the UAE.

BYD, one of the biggest EV car brands, aligned with Al Futtaim to make its UAE debut. Image Credit: Supplied

Geely’s goals

In the initial phase, the new Geely dealer, AGMC, will launch three popular models - the Coolray SUV, the sedan Emgrand, and the electric vehicle Geometry C.

According to Jan Felton, Managing Director of Albatha Holding and the parent entity of AGMC, “Geely Auto is one of China’s fastest-growing privately-owned automotive groups, with an impressive range of brands and strong technological expertise founded on decades of investment in R&D all over the world. This makes the Geely Auto brand the perfect addition to the AGMC stable of high-quality automotive products.”

EV and SUV push

The new entrants will make an obvious push into the still nascent market for EVs and hybrids in the UAE. Then there is the sustained demand for SUVs among UAE buyers, with sales of the all-wheel drives now higher than that for sedans.

For Exeed, Al Ghurair Investment expects to open the first showroom in June, with prime ‘positioning on Etihad Road’ and with further opportunities being explored for Abu Dhabi. There are also plans for an additional showroom in Dubai.

The Dubai and Northern Emirates dealer for BMW, AGMC, secures the Geely rights. Up ahead are three model launches, including an EV. Image Credit: Supplied

Exeed’s first launch will be in the premium SUV category, and with follow up launches to include hybrid and electric vehicles.

All-electric BYD

For BYD, now going head-to-head with Tesla in China, Al Futtaim set up a separate company, which will now handle all of the Dubai-headquartered entity’s plans in the EV space. The alliance will work on creating more price points for EVs that car buyers can plug into, rather than just the premium options that are currently available.

The UAE and Gulf markets represent one big opportunity for Chinese auto brands. With the right pricing, the right model mix, and, of course, a broad EV range, they sure can make things happen.