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Chinese Car Manufacturers See Sales Rise in the UAE

Chinese cars are fast becoming a hot commodity in the UAE. Sales of these automobiles have gone up in recent months. One manufacturer even registered groundbreaking sales figures from January to March 2023.

Yalla Motor revealed that MG Motor came in fourth in car sales in the first quarter of the year. It was behind Toyota, Nissan, and Hyundai. It’s an amazing feat considering the three brands are giants in the industry. The Chinese-owned company also saw its year-on-year sales increase by about 86%.

Another car manufacturer, Geely, is also making waves in the Emirates. Their vehicles are being distributed by AGMC in the UAE. It’s doing well as over 1,000 units were reportedly sold within six weeks of its showroom opening in Dubai.

Geely AGMC opened its first showroom in May. It has already opened a second one in Sharjah and there are plans to build a third one in Abu Dhabi this year.

Impressive Feedback Among Locals

Many local motorists are now favoring China-made vehicles. It's because they get more value for their money. Models from BYD, GCA, and Geely also have extra features residents like.

Dubai resident Sultan Qazi even traded his BMW for a GAC Trumpchi this year. He said he used to think Germans were the best when it comes to cars. But the Chinese brands are proving him wrong.

Qazi, a gas company director, said he always went for SUVs so quality is a must. He was also amazed that he was paying less for his new car without compromising on quality and features.

Qazi opted to go with a lease instead of buying a Trumpchi outright. He explained that he was testing the waters first. He’s paying around Dh2,000 or $544 per month. He said he’s also saving at least Dh500 every month on gas as well. This is despite driving the same distance and using a car with a similar-sized engine. The Indian national admitted he will be buying a GAC vehicle once his lease is over.

Affordability is Key

Affordability seems to be a driving force behind the popularity of Chinese cars. Data analyst Shumaila Shehzadi admitted cost was the main factor in her decision to buy an EV from BYD.

The 32-year-old Pakistani said it was her first car. She was also surprised by the cost. She said it was much lower than what she expected. She added she always wanted to buy an EV and she’s happy she got great value for her money.

An Atto 3 SUV like what Shehzadi bought costs around Dh150,000. Meanwhile, a new Mercedes EQE SUV has a price tag of about Dh290,000.

Sales portal Dubizzle noted a boost in sales of Chinese cars sold in the UAE. Cost is reportedly the main factor for the increase. The company’s social media manager, Christopher Milbourne, explained this phenomenon. He said the cost of living is influencing consumers. Especially when it comes to buying cars. People want to save money during this time. And affordable vehicles with good features are the ticket.

Milbourne added many brands have flourished in the UAE in the past few months. Carmakers like Changan, GAC, and Geely are enjoying good sales figures. So are brands like JAC, Jetour, and MG. Car enthusiasts are loving these affordable alternatives. They’re also happy about the features and add-ons. It’s why these cars are appealing to a lot of cost-conscious customers.

EV Dreams Can Come True

Many drivers are angling to make their dream of electric vehicles come true. While there’s an increased demand for EVs, most cars sold are those running on petrol. The UAE and Chinese market is the same in this regard.

Milbourne said EVs in the UAE are still a small part of the market. It’s notable that Chinese manufacturers are offering combustion engine and electric options.

Many residents of Dubai say their dream vehicle is an electric one. Sunil Makhija said he’s keen on a certain Chinese EV model. He has already ordered an Atto 3 for Dh150,000. He said it was more affordable compared to what he has seen in the market. Warren Buffett’s investment in BYD also convinced him it was the best brand for him.

Changing Consumer Perceptions

Experts are saying the value Chinese cars are offering is why these vehicles are so popular.

Adam Whitnall of Drive Ninja revealed that you’ll get more for your money with a Chinese car. He said drivers can get about 30% to 40% more features on these cars than ones bought from the non-Chinese market.

Many motorists are still reluctant to buy cars made in China though. Drive Ninja’s chief executive says there are still some who believe these come with risks. But Whitnall notes those numbers are fewer than before.

Whitnall said consumers aren't comfortable going with something they’re not familiar with. There are also concerns about these cars’ resale value. Many of these brands have been around for years but their sales volumes were low. But people are more confident about them now since they now see these brands more often on the road.

Many UAE dealers are expanding their showrooms. It's the only way to cater to the burgeoning demand for Chinese cars. Al-Futtaim Automotive is one such dealer. The company has opened a new dealership in City Walk, Dubai. Its showroom is showcasing the BYD range.

Hasan Nergiz says people are more focused on keeping costs down. This means people are more mindful of how much they’re spending every month on their vehicles.

Research showed that perceptions towards Chinese cars are also changing. Managing Director Nergiz says consumers used to think of them as cheap knock-offs. But that was a decade ago. It’s no longer the case as Chinese products are now associated with top-notch technology.

Consumers only have to look at how Huawei is holding up against tech giants like Apple.

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