Dubai supercar market finds new gear

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Mohamed Redha Abdulla, founder of pre-owned supercar dealership Deals on Wheels, wants to get one thing straight: “The supercar market in Dubai is always booming.”

“It’s the place to be to show off,” he says. For wealthy Emiratis, “having a sports and luxury car is part of their lifestyle. This will never change.”

Petrodollars and the abundant disposable income enjoyed by Dubai’s elites – both local and expat – means a high concentration of luxury vehicles on the city’s streets. People want the newest models – and they want them now.

In 2015, Nasrullah Chaudhry and Faiyaz Chand co-founded the quick-quote auto trader We Cash Any Car to take advantage of this. “We’ve seen that, on average, people hold on to their cars for less than two and a half years, whereas in some more mature European markets it’s almost double that,” says Chaudhry.

The pair describe sellers buying cars they later regretted, as well as vehicles that were received as unwanted gifts or won in lotteries. “We’ve had cars come in with 50 kilometers on the clock,” Chaudhry said.

Dubizzle, an Emirati classifieds website that acquired We Cash Any Car in 2018, told CNN that it listed 1,299 cars valued over one million dirhams ($272,000) last year.

03:01 - Source: CNN
Dubai's thriving secondhand supercar market

Dubai’s buoyant secondhand market is awash with vehicles that are both relatively common and extremely rare. Abdulla says Lamborghinis, Bentleys, McLarens and Porsches are staples in his showroom, but Deals on Wheels also has two Ferrari LaFerrari coupes in its inventory. Only 500 of the vehicles were ever made, explaining why they’re on sale for $2.7 million each. Similarly, the We Cash Any Car duo recently facilitated the sale of a 260-mph Bugatti Chiron – also one of 500 – for approximately $3.84 million.

Due to their rarity, the Chiron and LaFerrari have increased in value, however that’s not the case for most luxury vehicles. Whirlwind trading has resulted in prices spiraling downwards.

“We’ve seen (vehicle) depreciation a lot higher here versus anywhere in the world,” says Chaudhry. Abdulla is blunter: “People are desperate to sell their cars, so they sell their cars cheaper.”

Oversupply can be a good thing for buyers. When CNN spoke to expat supercar club member Jaylin Jarvi last year, she only had positive things to say: “Cars are 50% the prices of other major cities. Of course I’m going buy a sports car. You’re stupid not to,” said Jarvi, who owns a Ferrari 599.

But what happens when supercar ownership isn’t the exclusive club it is elsewhere? How does one stand out at the traffic lights? Assyl Yacine hopes he has you covered.

Yacine heads up the classic car division of Tomini Classics, a company set up nine years ago on the back of an imported Jaguar E Type and an enthusiastic chairman.

The supercar market in Dubai has been “quite rich ever since the mid-1970s,” Yacine explains. But it’s geared towards new models by European manufacturers. “We appreciate the purity of older cars,” he adds. “What we’re trying to do is open up the culture’s eyes to another species of car: the post-war classics and the collectibles.”

Tomini Classics says it has sold classic cars valued anywhere from $20,000 to over $1 million. What’s more, Yacine says sales have doubled between 2015 and 2018.

“There’s a real love for speed over here,” he adds. “If we were having this conversation a couple of hundred years ago its would’ve been the same thing with purebred horses.”

“People over here do like something that is unique … If you want to stand out from the crowd, getting an old Jaguar E Type or a classic European sports car – there are few better ways to do so.”