New car registrations fall 35% in Dubai

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By Andy Sambidge  www.arabianbusiness.com

The number of new car registrations in Dubai in 2009 fell 31.5 percent as the emirate’s car sales sector shrank during the global economic downturn.

100Registrations totalled 149,730 compared with a total of 218,429 in 2008, according to figures published by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, based on statistics from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

In a report published on Monday, Dubai Chamber said that although the car sales industry remained “weak”, dealers were optimistic for 2010, with demand expected to rise.

Business Monitor International has predicted that car sales in the UAE will increase from $9.7bn last year to an estimated $11.56bn in 2010, rising to $12.8bn next year.

“Car dealers in Dubai remain optimistic on the outlook for 2010 and are confident that their sales will grow at a higher rate compared to the challenging period in 2009,” Dubai Chamber said.

It added that car ownership in the UAE is set to rise to 55.9 percent, up 0.5 percent from last year “despite the continuous lack of credit availability and the new Dubai Metro which has broadened publish transport options”.

The Dubai Chamber report said that a larger focus on smaller cars in the future “could entice Chinese and Malaysian firms…to set up car assembly operations in Dubai”.

It added that the lack of available car finance in the emirate could also result in growth for the car hiring sector.

“Overall, the UAE automotive market remains strong and positive,” the report said, adding that “a strong recovery” would be seen over the long term.