While new vehicle registrations in the Sultanate continue to decrease, September 2017 marked the biggest-ever fall in recent times. According to data, registrations averaged 9,716.93 from 2012 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 14,717 in September 2012 and a record low of 5,449 in September 2017. Data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) also shows that registrations dropped to 6,017 in November from 7,478 in October in the previous year, reaching a total fall of 18.3 per cent. The greatest decline was in the commercial vehicle segment, which saw a 31.9 per cent fall in the first 11 months of the previous year.
“It may be cost-effective measures adopted by companies operating in the Sultanate that led to the fall in new registrations,” said a senior official at a leading automobile firm. This is evident from the rise in the registration of rental cars. Many companies are avoiding investments in new vehicles. Instead, they are hiring them, he said. Reports from Sohar Port also indicate that roll-on, roll-off traffic has reduced mainly because of the slump in the automobile market. The registration of rental cars witnessed a rise of 18.4 per cent between January and November last year. Taxis and driving school vehicles also saw significant drops with 25.6 per cent and 27.5 per cent, respectively during the period. On the other hand, there has been a marginal three per cent rise in the number of government vehicles registered during the period.