Oman automobile sales in top gear

Energy Sunday 29/December/2019 20:54 PM
By: Times News Service

Muscat: There has been a year-on-year increase in the number of new vehicles registered in Oman, corresponding to a rise in the number of cars sold in the Sultanate.
According to data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), there were 1,520,910 vehicle registrations recorded in the country as of June 2019, a 3.5 per cent increase over June 2018. At the end of last year, there were 1,495,686 vehicles registered in the Sultanate.
In May 2019, the number of vehicles registered stood at 1,516,943, while as of April 2019, that number stood at 1,510,133. The biggest increase was in the number of private vehicles registered (1,180,519 vehicles as of June 2019, compared to 1,157,440 at the end of 2018).
In terms of percentages, the biggest increase in registrations came through vehicle rentals, which showed a 6.3 per cent increase to reach 23,999, up from 23,363.
The number of registered commercial vehicles also rose by 1.3 per cent to touch 246,052, an increase from 245,002 at the end of last year.
The number of driving school vehicles rose slightly from 5,436 to 5,578, an increase of 4.7 per cent, while the number of tractors also increased, from 1,263 to 1,278, a rise of 2.3 per cent. However, there was a 7.4 per cent decrease in the number of taxis registered, as that number went down to 33,352 from 35,585.
Similarly, the registration of the number of motorbikes and government vehicles dropped fractionally by one per cent and 1.9 per cent, to touch figures of 6,644 and 13,028, down from 6,703 and 13,118.
However, there was a sharp increase in the number of temporary registrations, with there being a jump of 43.9 per cent (9,652 registrations), as compared to last year’s stat of 6,960.
One of the reasons for this increase, according to Muhammad Faisal Nawaz, the marketing manager for Mohsin Haider Darwish, which handles brands such as Volvo, Rover MG and Land Rover in Oman, was because people were still looking for cars, but searching for those brands that gave them the best deals.
“We have had very good sales in terms of our Rover MG model, where we sold a good number of vehicles last year, and are expecting to close this year at about seven times that number,” he told Times of Oman. “It is also the same with our Volvo brand, because we expect an increase there as well. The reason we’ve done so well is because of two things. We’ve priced our cars pretty aggressively in the market so people can afford them, and we give our customers a lot of benefits and after-sales service.
“Despite all of the other uncertainties in the market, people are still willing to spend,” he explained. “You do get quite a few new drivers in the market, because they have just received their licences, and it is only natural that they will want a convenient method of transportation. People are still buying cars, it’s just that they don’t want the high-end cars right now. Rather, they’d opt for a mid-range vehicle.”
According to data from the Royal Oman Police, there are 1,601,832 holders of vehicle driving licences in Oman, as of 2018. Of these, 334,271 are women, while the remaining 1,267,561 are men. There were 393,830 driving tests taken in 2018, of which 142,116 were taken by women, and the rest – 251,714 – were attempted by male candidates.
“We have had a positive can say that 2019 was positive, although we had many challenges,” said a senior official at another lead car company in Oman. “Our car sales remained steady and the customers are positive with our brands. It is not like the market has wiped us out, but we did face certain challenges. We managed to weather the storm and look forward to 2020. One of the reasons we managed to do so was because we had many promotional schemes that were brought out because we listened to the market. There are challenges, but we are looking forward to a good 2020. We will come out with more plans for 2020 after taking more feedback from the market. The automotive industry goes through its own business cycle, so you will see a cyclic trend every few years.”