x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Rolls to unlock second-hand market

Rolls-Royce is to start selling used luxury cars through its network of dealers in the Middle East - with video.

Rolls-Royce is the latest car maker to launch a pre-owned car scheme in the UAE. Sammy Dallal / The National
Rolls-Royce is the latest car maker to launch a pre-owned car scheme in the UAE. Sammy Dallal / The National

Rolls-Royce plans to sell luxury used cars for the first time through its network of dealers in the Middle East.

The pre-owned car scheme, called Provenance, is now being offered in showrooms across the UK and is due to be launched in the Middle East towards the end of the year, before being rolled out globally.

"The cars will be cheaper than new," said James Crichton, the regional director for Middle East and Africa. "We are brand new to this, most of the used cars are being sold outside of our network, we want to bring them inside."

Currently, new Rolls-Royces are sold by Abu Dhabi Motors in the capital and by AGMC in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates.

On a used-vehicle basis, the luxury cars are sold through individual second-hand dealerships or through classified websites such as Dubizzle.

A dealer based in Ras Al Khor in Dubai is selling a Rolls-Royce Ghost for Dh960,000 (US$261,366) that was bought last year for Dh1.25 million.

"I want to make sure that when a customer is thinking about buying a used Rolls-Royce, their first thought is to go to the Rolls-Royce dealer," Mr Crichton said.

An increasing number of pre-owned car schemes have been launched in the UAE, particularly since the financial crisis, as many consumers have opted to buy second-hand rather than invest in a new car.

Sales growth in the used segment has outstripped that of new cars since the market bottomed out in 2009, even with a strong rebound in new car sales last year.

Many car dealers now see the pre-owned market as a lucrative way to boost revenues.

Nissan launched a pre-owned scheme this year, following competitors General Motors and Toyota.

Used Bentley cars, Rolls-Royce's major competitor in the UAE, can be bought through Al Habtoor Motors in Dubai.

To be classified under the Rolls-Royce Provenance scheme, a car will have to meet a set of criteria set by Rolls-Royce and its team of technicians. The Middle East is Rolls-Royce's third-largest market, making up 15 per cent of sales globally.

By country, the UAE is its fourth-largest market behind the US, China and the UK.

"What's really encouraging for the [first] half is that the strongest growth in the region has been Dubai, up 100 per cent in [new car] volumes on the same period last year" Mr Crichton said. "Dubai is the fastest-growing market in the region."

Globally, new Rolls-Royce sales grew 64 per cent in the first half compared with the same period last year, with the Middle East reporting 41 per cent growth.

"In the last few months the market in Bahrain and Oman has come back on track and we are seeing positive sales results," Mr Crichton said.

rjones@thenational.ae