The Government of the United Arab Emirates supports the automotive sector as a key revenue generator. As a result, it is one of the fastest-growing automobile markets in the Middle East region.
After the 2008 financial crisis, the UAE automotive market gradually began to recover. There was outstanding growth between late 2010 to early 2015. This growth was disrupted in the second half of 2015 as oil revenue declined. The situation turned for the better in 2019, but soon Covid pandemic hit the country affecting the sales of the automobile. While the sales of new cars dropped by almost 50%, the market for used and pre-owned cars saw a rise in sales. With the air of uncertainty in the economic sector, earnings dipped and consumers preferred to buy second-hand cars. Many auto manufacturing companies were forced to halt the production of new cars, resulting in a surge in used car sales in the market. The period after the pandemic saw a quick rise in the sales of new cars.
With this rise in the purchase of new vehicles, Japanese automobile brands continue to thrive in UAE. According to a report by Dubai Customs, Japan is the UAE’s top automobile trading partner. Toyota, one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world has a market share of 30.9% in UAE. Japanese brands traditionally regarded as more dependable than their European and American counterparts–are the country’s best sellers. Brands like Toyota, a consistent market leader from 2015 to 2021, Nissan, and Mitsubishi dominate in the UAE market. Toyota models like Hilux, Land Cruiser 200, Prado, Corolla, Yaris, and Camry continue to drive the brand’s sales in UAE. Japanese brands have great resale value and with the increase in purchase of used vehicles, more people are choosing Japanese brands. Other reasons that constitute for the popularity of Japanese brands include the easy availability of spare parts at cheap rates, and low maintenance of these cars. With safety and appearance, consumers also look for quality and endurance, this is why the percentage of SUVs in the UAE is relatively high compared to other countries in the world.