ABU DHABI // Half the car dealerships in the new Motor World complex on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi are refusing to pay rent or renew their commercial licences.
About 50 business owners say sales have plunged almost to zero since they were forced to move their operations to the 3 million square metre car exhibition area in Al Shamkha, near Abu Dhabi International Airport.
They told Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister newspaper of The National, that many of them are facing bankruptcy.
Some dealers have moved to other emirates and others are planning to follow suit.
The dealers said they would stop paying fees unless solutions could be found for 12 problems that were affecting their businesses. These include the remoteness of the area from the rest of the city, the high cost of rental fees for exhibitions and showrooms, the lack of a vehicle registration centre and an examination centre nearby and the need to attract insurance companies to establish branches.
They also called for a mosque and retail stores in the area, and improved signage directing customers to the site.
An official for Motor World’s developer, Aldar Properties, said it was investigating the dealers’ complaints and was trying to mediate between them and the authorities responsible for infrastructure and other support services.
The spokesman said it had recently reduced rent by 27 per cent to placate the investors, and land had been designated for a petrol station, with work to begin soon.
Abu Dhabi Police said this year that a car licensing department branch would open soon in Motor World.