Car sales are expected to shift into top gear in the UAE this year to reach a record.
Last year, sales across the Emirates jumped by 27 per cent to 310,000 vehicles, according to figures shared between dealers in the UAE.
And the pace has carried through to the early part of this year, with sales up almost 23 per cent in January and February.
If the growth continues, dealers estimate that sales could reach a total of 380,000 vehicles in 2013.
"That's quite significant because the peak year was in 2008 and then we barely did 350,000 vehicles," Salah Yamout, director, sales and marketing at Arabian Automobiles Company (AAC).
That would make this year a record year for the UAE, but car sales have been climbing steadily for months.
"Auto sales have been increasing month on month now for almost a year and a half," said Richard Adams, the director and senior consultant at Acuity Middle East. "[There has been] a sustained pattern and this has been in line with a broader recovery," said Mr Adams.
The willingness of banks to lend, combined with positive consumer confidence and strong fleet sales have led to a surge in vehicle sales, according to Mr Yamout.
"Light commercial vehicles [sales are] contributing about 50 per cent of the growth," he said.
"It is companies as well - fleets, rental companies are becoming quite aggressive in their purchasing, which is an indication that they are seeing as well positive signs in the future and are doing quite well."
AAC, which operates in Dubai and the northern emirates, registered a 21 per cent jump in sales last year and is budgeting for a 23 per cent rise this year.
"Because of all this growth and anticipation of further increase in demand in cars in the UAE, our strategy is to refurbish our facilities and expand our facilities where we see opportunities for growth, and Sharjah is one of them."
The company yesterday opened a new 35,000 square metre facility in the emirate, its fifth in Sharjah, to showcase its Nissan, Infiniti and Renault brands.
Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, who attended the launch event, said he was delighted that Arabian Automobiles invested in Sharjah.
"New car and service facilities are highly prized … used car operation Arabian Automobiles brings is equally valued," he added.