Cars are more than just vehicles that take you from point A to point B. They are a ticket to a lifestyle. Driving a Porsche, Maserati or a Jaguar may seem like a faraway dream to some people, but it is actually easier than you would think to drive a luxury car or a sports car in Dubai.
Dubai is a desert metropolis that has a strong gearhead ethos, where fire-engine red Ferraris growl at stoplights and convertible Rolls Royces prowl the boulevard ringing the world's tallest building.
Rock up to any fancy restaurant or valet area in one of Dubai’s malls and you can’t help but notice that the sidewalks are dotted with colorful luxury cars, sports cars and supercars. They are not a rare sight here in Dubai. But why is that? Why do so many people have access to such expensive cars?
“Dubai has such a wide offering of luxurious spots and high-end experiences. I feel like this life is naturally complemented with high end cars among the same caliber of luxury,” Osama Sherif, a communications manager working with luxury car companies in Dubai, tells Gulf News. “You won’t necessarily feel left out when you drive down Sheikh Zayed Road in a Ferrari or a Bentley – you’ll have plenty of others who travel in style too. The competition amongst brands now lies across the exclusivity factor – which doesn’t seem to diminish thanks to the impressive models that give the sphere of luxury audience a deeper sense of the lavish lifestyle a city like Dubai can offer.”
Life in the UAE itself is very accommodating to luxury cars. Whether it’s a good, tax-free salary or the well maintained road conditions. According to Hicham Younis, a communications manager at an automotive company in Dubai, driving in the UAE is enjoyable. “The majority of people here, not just the one per cent, but most people, enjoy a better standard of living than the rest of the world,” Hicham told Gulf News. “This high standard of living here allows you to own nice things. Another contributing factor is that the UAE also has well regulated and safe road conditions. The streets are well lit and well maintained. There are no potholes on the highways or bumpy unkempt roads. It’s a great place to drive, so why not get yourself something nice that you can enjoy?”
Even the UAE government uses luxury cars. For example, Dubai Police have built up a high-horsepower arsenal of luxury sports cars and SUVs over the years to complement their fleet of green-and-white patrol cruisers. The high-end squad cars fit into the life here. When Dubai Police introduced the Bugatti Veyron, the Ferrari FF or the Lamborghini Aventador to the fleet of its police cars, it helped take the Dubai police force image to another level.
“Luxury cars are a status symbol and so many people like to maintain a high status,” Alexandru Khisaf, an advertising executive who works in the automotive industry, told Gulf News. “Before people move to Dubai, they have an expectation that life will be luxurious. From my time working in the industry, I can tell you that the UAE outsells all other countries when it comes to luxury cars.”
You can place luxury car owners into two categories. Either they buy cars for themselves, or they buy cars for other people. “They can be people who are car enthusiasts, and are very passionate about cars so they buy them for their own enjoyment and there are owners who buy the car for other people, to show that they live a certain lifestyle,” said Alexandru. Dubai is a city of superlatives, where everyone is shuttled around by Uber and Careem drivers in high-end leather-seat Lexus cars. “As a result, luxury vehicles are a necessity and a normal expectation of living in this city.”
“I always like to say that there are two interpretations of a Lamborghinis. One is to see it as a Lamborghini, a beautiful performance car built in Italy with an amazing heritage, great horsepower and a powerful brand, and then you have those that see it as a ‘Lambo’. A beautiful car that you flex with on Instagram” Alexandru said to Gulf News.
Osama also points out that exclusivity plays a huge role when it comes to owning a luxury car, sports car or a super car. “It is human nature for many people to lust after things that not anyone can have access to. But there are of course people who need a vehicle with great build quality. Knowing that the rear seats of your next car is inspired by first-class cabins in planes could be enough to know when justifying the premium price,” said Osama.
According to Alexandru, the most popular brands of luxury cars being bought in the UAE include Lexus, Mercedes and BMWs. European and German cars are the top in terms of luxury vehicles.
How do people in Dubai own luxury cars? Where do they get the money?
1. They buy them used
Luxury cars or sports car in the UAE are generally expensive if you buy them brand new but depreciate very quickly over the first two years. Let’s say you buy a Porsche brand new for Dh390,000. Just two to three years later, this car drops to Dh250,000. Most expats in Dubai will buy a second hand car for a lot less.
2. Car loans are easily and readily available
Owning a car in the UAE is a very straightforward process. Plenty of people can get car loans on very low interest rates and you can spread the payback period over 3, 4 or 5 years.
3. They got lucky
Sometimes you have to scour car dealerships at the end of the year or the season, who need to turn over their stock.
4. White collar jobs pay very well
Most of the time, jobs in the UAE pay quite well. If you are strategic with your salary negotiations, which most people here tend to be, you can score a well-paying job and be able to afford a luxury car.
5. Tax rates are low
At the moment, there is no income tax in the UAE. So all the money that you earn is yours. The VAT rate is also quite low at just 5 per cent. This leaves people with a higher disposable income.
6. Insurance is relatively affordable
In comparison to other countries in the world, the UAE has low insurance rates, especially if you have been driving for a longer time. As a result, insuring your luxury car may be more expensive than a standard car, but it will not be the same prices as in Europe or North America. It is why luxury cars are more frequently bought here.
7. Petrol is affordable
Petrol prices in the UAE are quite low in comparison to many other countries in the world. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to fill your gas tank up, so petrol prices are not a huge factor people consider when they purchase a car.
8. There is rarely any car theft or crime
The undisputed best aspect about living in the UAE is how safe this country is. People never have to worry about their cars being stolen or vandalized. In some other countries, expensive vehicles are keyed or damaged out of jealousy, but living here, most people enjoy a great standard of living and the law protects residents of the UAE.
9. It’s a rental
Although the UAE has a high number of luxury cars, not everyone can finance such a vehicle. As a result, people turn to rental websites like Renty.ae They have a special luxury and sports car section, where they gather together car rental offers from all major rental companies across the UAE and display them in one easy-to-use platform. If you log onto their website, you will find many incredible luxury cars for rent, such as an orange Lamborghini Huracan, a bright yellow Ferrari, a McLaren and a selection of Rolls Royce, Porsches and Maserati.
“Renting out luxury cars is a very big thing here as well. It’s definitely more popular with tourists,” said Alexandru. “They like to come here and truly experience that total luxurious lifestyle. They want to stay in a nice hotel, drive a beautiful luxurious car and show up at the hottest places in those cars,” he tells Gulf News.
“Renting a luxury car can also be tied to a special occasion. I know many people who want to rent a special car to elevate certain occasions and events like a wedding, a special birthday or an anniversary. But then again, there are others, who rent out the car, just because they have an undeniable love for cars and truly just want to experience something new.”
Osama also believes that it takes a lot for a car rental company to stand out to the market. “I need something that I can choose online, see all the specs and of course have it delivered to my door step. I need to feel catered for.”
Check out renty.ae and rent your very own luxury, sports or super car for the day, weekend or even longer.