Muscat: The unavailability of new car models with the local automobile dealers in the Sultanate of Oman has had a knock-on effect in the form of a huge surge in the rental car and used cars businesses.
The global sales and production numbers of cars have taken a massive hit due to the shortage of semiconductor chips.
With fewer new car models available, buyers are looking to buy second-hand cars instead of joining the lengthening waiting lists and there has been a huge surge in demand of car rentals.
Besides, with ever-lengthening waiting lists for new car models across a majority of brands, car owners are forced to retain older vehicles for longer periods.
The delay in the arrival of new models has forced an Omani sales executive, Musallam Al Abri, working in a retail company, to look for cars in the used market.
He said: “We just can’t get our hands on new models, so we are looking for recently sold cars in the used market.”
The non-availability of new car models has also led to a surge in used car market with people selling cars at a good price.
Redha Dawood, who works as a salesman at a used car outlet in Oman said: “People who bought cars two years ago are making money if they sell now. It is a good time to sell.”
Another executive at a used cars showroom said “shortages have forced a change in the buying habits of dealerships.”
“The main dealers have nothing to sell, so they are venturing out into older car markets,” he said.
“It is becoming very competitive, and used cars come at a premium. We are buying back the same cars we sold a year ago for the same price.”
The car leasing companies have also acknowledged a shortage of cars at their disposal as most of the car rental agreements have been renewed.
One of the leasing company executive said: “We have shortage of cars to rent out to new customers. Earlier, we had stocks available to cater to new clients. Now, most of our customers have renewed their rental deals. We are certainly doing better business due to the scarcity of new cars.”
Automobile experts have said that production issues will certainly carry on for the next few months and into 2023.