Car rental firms in the UAE are having problems disposing of their used cars because potential buyers are unable to obtain loans from banks.
Others interested in buying are not prepared to pay the full asking price. But luxury rental firms report that they are still able to sell their cars easily despite the financial slowdown. "We have always used brand new cars for rental to ensure full customer satisfaction," said George Khalil, Sales Operations Manager of Europcar in Abu Dhabi. "We have always put them on sale when they are two years old.
"But the banks' curbs on offering car loans mean we are having to think about what we do with these vehicles. We are continuing to operate them for an additional year but if the banks' policies remain the same we really don't know what we will do.
"In normal times we used to resell them in the UAE or re-export them to other markets in the region. Some of these cars are bargains but buyers are very reluctant to spend a large amount to pay the full asking price."
Mazaher Zaki, Manager of Avis' operations in Dubai and the northern emirates, agreed with Khalil. "We used to put cars up for sale or re-export after two years. The banks' loans arrangements for buyers used to go smoothly. But times have changed and we are keeping good-condition cars in service. We don't know how long such cars can remain in service as we are known for offering top-of-the-line products and service."
However, Sayyed Al Masri, a customer service representative at Abu Dhabi-based Al Assad, said: "There is no problem when it comes to putting our luxury cars up for sale. People who come to buy such cars have the cash and are willing to pay the full amount."