The used or pre-owned car market in Oman is coming of age thanks to the efforts to streamline the system. Very soon an open online auction service will be launched in the Sultanate. According to experts in the automobile industry of Oman, one of the most obvious advantages of a pre-owned car is that they are more affordable, which is why they tend to be popular among youngsters and first-time buyers. Further, with a high standard of engineering for vehicles today and so the relative risk of buying a used car is significantly reduced compared to the past.
In his comments to the Observer, Scott Shears, GM, Mercedes Oman, said, “It is important to use a certified pre-owned, a branded dealer who can guarantee you the safety and specifications standards that you would expect from a new car. Secondly, buyers need to look at what they want from a car. Will they be off-roading? Will they be driving long distances? Is this just an extra car for a family run-around? All of these factors matter in determining what type of model vehicle you buy. Once you have established who you will buy from, what kind of car and what your budget is, then you can review suitable options with a better understanding.”
Used car markets
He explained, “The used and new car segment don’t really hurt each other. If anything, they complement each other. Used car markets are driven by supply, whereas new car markets are driven by demand. Meaning, new cars are produced depending on how many people will likely buy them, whereas used cars are
available only when people want to sell. So, the two markets often fluctuate around each other and are generally controlled by broader economic and market conditions.”
The current economic climate in Oman, and globally really, is a little tough as a number of people are feeling some cash-flow pressures, so the availability of loans is extremely important in allowing people to continue investing responsibly in their future.
“At the moment, loan rates in Oman are around 4.5 to 5.5 per cent which, generally speaking, is not bad. However, access to loans is an important part of the car market in general, not just for used-cars. Plus, there are many other economic conditions that determine the size of the used-car market, such as income rates, cost of living and fuel prices,” Shears said.
Social media can be an especially helpful tool for supporting the used-car market. It makes communicating more personal and immediate and provides people with the resources to make smarter, more informed decisions.
Also, it’s very visual which is great for selling used cars as people like to see good quality images and videos, from lots of angles. It is not ideal for buying a used car directly, but more of a complementary tool to assist the customer in their decision-making.
According to Shihab, a manager of a leading vehicle service station, “Pre-owned cars are reliable and despite promises by the sellers, it is important to get certified by qualified technicians. The used car market has been organised these days and people have multiple means to check about their past history.”
Shears concludes, “The Certified Pre-Owned programme of Mercedes-Benz is backed by checks for reliability, performance, and safety. We also offer full-service history and a minimum 12-month warranty.”
As a person to person transaction may not bring warranty or service offers, it is always advisable for a customer to by a vehicle from a trusted source. According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), there were 1,520,910 vehicle registrations recorded as of June 2019, a 3.5 per cent increase from June 2018, with a 4.2 per cent increase in private vehicles and 6.3 per cent in car rentals.