UAE car listings fall by half amid coronavirus pandemic: Report

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The number of pre-owned online car listings have dropped by almost half from average in the UAE as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll on the automobile industry, according to data from Dubai-based automotive platform Seez.

The UAE economy has begun to see the economic fallout of the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, as authorities place the country into lockdown to control the virus’s spread. Dubai announced Saturday that it was extending its lockdown period for a further two weeks with a 24-hour curfew in place.

“People will not stop buying cars, they have just paused buying cars because of the uncertainty of what’s going on. As life gets back to normal we’re bound to see people who had previously wanted to buy a car actually do so,” Seez CEO Tarek Kabrit said.

Seez found that prices for cars have fallen at least 10-15 percent, with the biggest drop happening the middle of March when coronavirus measures were introduced.

Over the past two months car searches have fallen by 65-80 percent, while lead conversions have dropped by a third.

BMW, Lexus, Volkwagen, Nissan and Toyota were noted as performing the best in terms of maintaining their market share in their respective categories.

“Low-cost cars that are vital for people's commuting needs will probably recover fastest. Premium brands, which are holding up relatively well even now, will continue to do well too, but we may see a shift towards lower-end models within the segment,” Kabrit added.

Consumers may also begin to shift towards leasing rather than outright purchasing.

“With more economic and job uncertainty, the lower level of commitment that comes with a lease may be more attractive now,” Kabrit concluded.

The UAE has reported 1,798 infections of the coronavirus, with 10 fatalities. The country has reported 144 recoveries so far.

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