Shifting gears

Car dealers are placing their hopes on Ramadan sales to ride past the recent dip in business owing to the oil price situation

Ramadan is a month of prayer, austerity and fasting. It is also a time when majority of the sectors in the Middle East see business slow down. But the one sector that looks eagerly forward to this month is automotive. Across the GCC, Ramadan is a period when auto dealers see massive sales. Companies vie for customer attention with attractive offers and people too wait for this period to make their vehicle purchases.

Salah al Farsi, business head, Infiniti says, “Ramadan is an important period for the auto industry in the GCC. It is a time when people prefer to bring something new to their homes. It might be furniture, appliances or gadgets but cars mostly top the list. The sales figures speak for itself as dealers sell two-three times more during Ramadan than an any other month in a year.”

Recovery hopes

The persistently low crude price situation had deeply affected the auto industry in 2016. According to available market figures, there was double digit drop in sales in 2016. But with the landmark Opec deal for production cuts saw the prices stabilise early this year and dealers expect things to get better this year.

David Aziz, CEO, Automotive Products, MHD, says, “Like any other business, we have also been affected by the oil price crisis. Recent reports suggest that car sales are down by 23-30 per cent year on year. People have become more cautious about their spending and this is not confined to Oman as it is a trend everywhere in the GCC. ”

Farsi says, “The luxury market has been down 17-18 per cent, especially in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year. Oil prices will affect the industry if it does not rise to a substantial level. People are holding back their spending and only loosen their purses if they see a positive signal from the economy.”

Companies have adopted several strategies like inventory control, new product launches etc to get ahead of the slump.

Lawrence Good, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Oman, says, In the Middle East, oil production is the major contributor to the region’s economy, and so no business is protected from the impact it has had here. In my experience, in challenging times brands must be adaptive, dynamic and flexible. It is about being open to change and a new landscape with new opportunities and I believe at Mercedes-Benz Oman we have been able to do this. An example of this is that Mercedes-Benz now has a wide and diverse range of vehicles catering to multiple segments and what we offer is a range of vehicles for every customer’s unique needs.”

MHD, the dealers in Jaguar Land Rover vehicles in Oman, has placed their bets on new strategic launches and inventory control. Aziz says, “There has been a slight dip in the number of premium cars registered this year but we are trying to overcome it by launching a new product every six months to keep our customers excited.

“Last year we launched the Discovery Sport and Jaguar F PACE. Recently we launched the new Discovery. We are expecting the new Range Rover Velar by the end of August 2017. We have also revised our business plans and vehicle orders to make sure that we can keep a balance between demand and supply.”

The plan to introduce of value added tax in the GCC next year is also expected to help boost sales. According to a report by Frost & Sullivan, a business consulting firm, car sales will rise in 2017 as customers previously planning a vehicle purchase in the next two years from now are likely to purchase vehicles before a five per cent tax (most likely rate to be adopted) is levied in 2018.

Accepting this point, Farsi says, “VAT will be imposed next year and it will be beneficial for people to buy cars before it comes into effect. People are becoming aware of this fact and we hope it will boost sales starting from Ramadan.”

The dip in crude prices and the hike in fuel prices have made people more conscious about efficiency. Unlike the past, dealers of luxury cars are finding customers demanding fuel efficient yet powerful vehicles.

Farsi says, “With the decline in oil price and hike in fuel costs, people seem to prefer more fuel efficient cars. Cars with smaller engines are moving faster than the ones with bigger engines. We have also seen people preferring sedans over SUVs.

Seeing this luxury car makers are now launching vehicles with powerful smaller engines, which consume less fuel and give more torque. For eg, till 2014-16, the Infiniti QX50 came with 3.7 litre engine and had 327hp now the same car comes with a 3.0 litre engine and gives 400hp. So now people can enjoy the benefits of fuel efficiency and power.”

According to Aziz, JLR customers are also showing interest in hybrid and fuel efficient cars. He says, “We have been seeing an increasing trend of people asking about fuel efficiency, unlike in the past. The interest towards hybrid and electric vehicles is rising too. JLR is working on hybrid cars, which will enter the market in the coming years.

“We will be shortly starting the refurbishment of our JLR Muscat Facility and keeping this trend in mind, it will have an setup to charge electric vehicles as well.”

Offers galore

This Ramadan is very crucial for auto dealers and so almost everyone have come out with attractive schemes and plans for the season. These include cash prizes, gifts, extended warranties, free services etc.

Good says, “Ramadan has always been a popular time for people across the Gulf to purchase a new car. It is the time when the customer can really benefit from great packages and Mercedes-Benz is no different. We are delighted to join in the spirit of the holy month and offer our customers something special. We have an exclusive offer of five years/ 75,000km service package, three years unlimited mileage warranty, three years Mobilo on road assistance, free registration and a gift from Montbanc applicable across our entire range of new cars and available until June 24.”

JLR also has some interesting offers in store for its customers. The company is offering five year warranty and additionally 5 years/ 65,000km complimentary service for all Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles from the 2017 Model Year onwards.  During the holy month of Ramadan the Range Rover Sport comes with cash gifts up to RO7,000, along with the five years/65,000km complimentary service package. The company is offering an SVO body kit worth RO5,000 with the purchase of Range Rover Vogue.

Aziz adds, “Usually we don't give any offers on new cars, but this Ramadan, the newly launched Discovery will come with complementary one-year insurance for Oman and UAE and complementary fixed side steps on top of the five year warranty along with the service package.”

Infiniti also has several attractive offers like cash gifts ranging from RO2,000-4,000, expensive watches, free insurance, raffle draws among others.

On the back of strategic business plans and seasonal offers, car dealers in the country are looking forward to improving sales and profitability this year.

Following are the Ramadan offers lined up by major car brands in the country:

Infiniti-Ramadan

Infiniti

Infiniti Oman has announced a special offer on all Infiniti purchases made during Ramadan.

The offer period, which started on May 18, will go on till July 17. The scheme is applicable for all the customers purchasing Infiniti vehicles for personal use only.

All customers purchasing Infiniti Q30, Q50, Q60, Q70, QX50, QX60, QX70 and QX80 in the scheme period are eligible for two gift items including a Frederique Constant watch (men’s or women’s watch) and Luxo window film and Body Paint Protection.

Assured cash gift: Cash gift of RO2,000 is being offered on Infiniti Q30 1.6, Infiniti Q30 2.0, Infiniti Q50 2.0, Infiniti Q50 3.0, Infiniti Q50 3.7, Infiniti Q60 2.0 and Infiniti Q60 3.0. The cash gift for Infiniti Q70 3.7, Infiniti Q70 5.6, Infiniti Qx50 3.7, Infiniti Qx60 3.5, Infiniti Qx70 3.7 and Infiniti Qx70 5.0 is RO2,500. Infiniti QX80 5.6 buyers will get a cash gift of RO4,000.

Periodic vehicle maintenance: Customers purchasing Infiniti Q30, Q50, Q60, Q70, QX50, QX60, QX70 and QX80 in the scheme period will get free periodic vehicle maintenance of three years or 60,000km (whichever is earlier). This offer excludes battery and wear and tear components.

Free registration: Buyers of Infiniti Q30, Q50, Q60, Q70, QX50, QX60, QX70 and QX80 in the scheme period will be eligible for free first year vehicle registration.

Raffle Prize: All customers purchasing Infiniti Q30, Q50, Q60, Q70, QX50, QX60, QX70 and QX80 in the scheme period will be eligible for the mega raffle draw. Winners will get five nights/six days trip to London and the number of winners eligible to win the raffle are three couples. All Infiniti vehicles including Q30, Q50, Q60, Q70, QX50, QX60, QX70 and QX80 purchased in the scheme period will have a three years/100,000km manufacturer’s warranty.

Free insurance: All customers purchasing Infiniti MY16 models in the scheme period will be eligible for free first year vehicle insurance (for Oman and the UAE).

 AAA/Road assistance card: Free AAA/Road Assistance card will be given on the purchase of Infiniti saloon cars and SUV vehicles only, for the first year only and as supported by AAA Oman and the UAE.

Toyota

Toyota

Toyota has unveiled ‘Biggest Excitement Ever’ Ramadan offer with a raffle comprising 22 Prius Hybrid cars. This is apart from cash gifts, service and insurance amongst other offerings available during the promotional period May 14 – July 13 for individual customers. There is an  assured cash gift  applicable on 2016 YM & 2017 YM Toyota models, excluding Coaster, Hiace, Hilux 2.0L, LC Wgn (LC200) 4.0L and Diesel Grades of Fortuner, Prado, Hilux, LC P/Up and LC Wgn. 

The promotion also makes available attractive service offering. Five years / 50,000km service (whichever is earlier) covering five services at 10,000km service interval based on normal operating conditions on 2017 YM LC WGN (LC200) 4.6L & 5.7L. 3 Years / 30,000km service (whichever is earlier) covering three services at 10,000km service interval for petrol models based on normal operating conditions on 16YM & 17YM models of FJ cruiser. Two years / 20,000km service (whichever is earlier) covering two services at 10,000km service interval for petrol models based on normal operating conditions on 16YM & 17YM / 16PLT  models of Yaris Hatchback, Yaris Sedan 1.5L, Corolla 1.6L & 2.0L.

Toyota also offer zero per cent interest rate for up to one year applicable only on 16YM & 17YM models of Yaris Sedan 1.5L, & Corolla 1.6L & 2.0L.

Company also offers comprehensive one year insurance (Oman only) that is available on 2016 YM Avalon & 16YM and 17YM Models of Yaris Hatchback, Yaris Sedan1.5L, Corolla 1.6L & 2.0L, Camry, Aurion, Prius, RAV4, Fortuner (excluding Diesel grades), Prado (excluding Diesel grades) & FJ Cruiser.

Finally, there are some delightful Gift Vouchers. Lulu Gift Vouchers worth RO50 will be applicable on Avalon, Fortuner, Prado, Sequoia & LC WGN (LC 200) & worth RO25 will be applicable on all other Toyota models.

GMC

GMC has launched a two-month long Ramadan promotion that started from May 8. On every purchase, a customer can look forward to a plethora of complimentary gifts. While these vary on the selection of the vehicle from the brand’s line-up, they range from iPhone 7, gift vouchers, 40-inch TV, fuel cards, complimentary service, 3M protection and cash gift offers as well.

This Ramadan, you can drive away in any Yukon with a promise of 30,000km service, 1,000l petrol card, free registration for a year, 3M protection, RO100 gift voucher and an iPhone 7. With the exception of Yukon SLE 2WD, there will be a cash gift on each ranging from RO5,740 to RO8,700. There will be an additional gift of a 40-inch TV with the purchase of Yukon XL.

On the purchase of any Acadia, the special package will comprise 60,000km service, 500l petrol card, free registration for a year and an iPhone 7. There will be a cash gift on offer on each model ranging from RO200 to RO6,700.

With the purchase of any Terrain vehicle, customers will be entitled to 30,000km service, 500l petrol card, free registration for a year and cash gifts ranging from RO1,000 to RO5,945.

Terrain customers will be entitled to 30,000km service, 500l petrol card, free registration for a year and cash gifts ranging from RO1,000 to RO5,945.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz

During the Holy Month of Ramadan, Mercedes-Benz Oman has an exclusive offer available on all of its luxury range of new vehicles until June 24. Customers can drive away in a brand new Mercedes-Benz with the added confidence of a five years or 75,000km service package, three years unlimited mileage warranty, three years Mobilo on road assistance, free registration and an exclusive gift from Montblanc.

Mercedes-Benz customers can take advantage of the Ramadan package across the full line-up of new Mercedes-Benz models – including the iconic sedans, thrilling coupés and stunning cabriolets, SUVs and the Mercedes-Benz dream cars. Customers can appreciate the unmatched driving experience for themselves through a test of one of the brand’s new cars including the C-Class 200, Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupé, E-Class 200, E-Class 300 AMG, S 500 Cabriolet, GLE 400, GLS 500 and more.  This package is only available until June 24, 2017 and extends over the entire range of new cars only.

Nissan-Crossover

Nissan

Customers of the crossover range Nissan Oman, from the house of Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA), – Nissan Pathfinder 3.5L, X-Trail, and the Juke – will have a choice of benefits including assured cash gift, free registration, free insurance (terms and conditions). Apart from these also get free fuel upto RO1000 and free service package upto 100,000km through scratch and win cards. There are additional benefits on purchase of second vehicle in the family as well as a part of loyalty scheme.  The offer which started on May 7, 2017 will go on till July 6, 2017.

Assured cash gift: Customers can avail assured cash gift of RO3,000 on buying Nissan Pathfinder 3.5L, assured cash gift of RO2,000 on buying Nissan X-Trail and assured cash gift of ORO1,500 on buying Nissan Juke.

Two scratch and win assured gifts: Customers buying Nissan Pathfinder 3.5L, X-Trail, or the Juke will be offered a scratch card during vehicle delivery. Each scratch card will have two scratches with two assured gifts as per below. Under scratch 1, customers are offered free periodic maintenance service options. This offer excludes any wear and tear parts and it includes only the new service intervals of 10,000km. Under scratch 1 option customers are assured of one free periodic maintenance service. It could be either two year/ 30,000km (whichever is earlier); three years / 50,000km (whichever is earlier); four years / 70,000 km (whichever is earlier) or 5 years/1,00,000km (whichever is earlier). Under Scratch 2 option customers are entitled to a fuel card (one assured to all). They can a fuel card worth of RO50, RO100 or RO1,000.

Free registration: All customers purchasing 2016 MY Nissan Nissan Pathfinder 3.5L, X-Trail, or Juke during this scheme period will be eligible for free first year vehicle registration.

Free Insurance: All customers purchasing Nissan Pathfinder 3.5L, X-Trail, or Juke will get free insurance for first year. (Conditions apply)

Grand raffle: Nissan patrons have a chance to win three Nissan Juke S 1.6L 2WD A/W + IKEY (16YM), for all those who sends SMS <Nissan Juke> to 90448 as a part of joint promotion with Al Wisal & Merge Radio (96.5FM) – a part of SABCO Media. SMS will cost 500Bz. Raffle draw dates: 11/06/2017, 22/06/2017 and 9/07/2017 at Nissan Muscat showroom at 10am.

Additional benefits: Loyal customers stand to enjoy additional benefits on purchase of a second Nissan vehicle in the family. To avail additional benefits under the scheme, the second car can be purchased either in the name of existing Nissan owner or his/her immediate family members (wife/husband/son/daughter/brother/sister).

Customers of Nissan Tiida will have a choice of benefits including assured cash gift, free registration, free insurance (terms and conditions). Apart from these also get free fuel upto RO1,000 and free service package upto 100,000 kms through scratch and win cards.

There are additional benefits on purchase of second vehicle in the family as well as a part of loyalty scheme. The offer which started on May 7, 2017 will go on till July 6, 2017. All customers purchasing Nissan Tiida from Suhail Bahwan Automobiles between May 7 and July 6 will be eligible to avail the exclusive Ramadan scheme.

Suzuki

Suzuki

To welcome and celebrate the spirit of Ramadan, Suzuki has already launched the most generous offer this keeping in mind 'Absolute & True Value' it wants to offer its esteemed customers during this festive time. 

The offer include cash-gift up to RO3,400, plus Insurance & Registration, and to top it all an attractive high-value gift i.e. iPhone 7 with every purchase.  Customers buying a Vitara, SX4 or KIZASHI will be entitled for iPhone 7 PLUS.

To complement or balance the ever rising fuel cost, most SUZUKI models are designed and equipped with compact VVT fuel efficient engines for economy, thus saving you money.  Moreover, the service intervals for SUZUKI models is @ every 10,000 Kms and multiples, thus again saving you money and time. So to say, you not only save money whilst buying the car, but you continue to save thereafter.

BMW

BMW&Mini

Al Jenaibi International Automobiles, the BMW Group importer in Oman, has announced its annual Ramadan offers. Running throughout the month of giving and designed for hassle-free ownership, customers can avail from a variety of exclusive offers and benefits on a range of BMW and MINI models purchased.

In preparation for an exciting summer, all BMW models will be available with the BMW Service Inclusive Plus (BSI) package covering all major servicing costs for the first six years or 120,000km (whichever comes first) and a warranty for six years or 200,000km (whichever comes first). All insurance and registration costs will be covered for the first year by the importer on all BMW vehicles, ensuring a convenient and hassle-free start to the customers’ BMW ownership. Additional benefits include a 128GB iPhone 7 as a complimentary gift.

Customers who purchase selected MINI models during the promotion period will receive a complimentary six years or 200,000km (whichever comes first) warranty. In addition, there is also a complimentary MINI Service Inclusive XL Service Package covering major servicing for the first six years or 120,000km (whichever comes first). The offer also includes registration and insurance for the first year, ensuring a convenient and hassle-free start to the MINI ownership.

The offer includes one year complimentary insurance and registration. All MINI customers will also receive a 128GB iPhone 7 as a complimentary gift.

Maserati_Shot-04_Range_Ver2

Maserati

Committed to continously offer clients an unmatched buying experience, Alfardan Motors, the official importer of Maserati in the Sultanate, has announced a special offer in celebration of the Holy month of Ramadan.

Maserati clients can enjoy a range of benefits including five years warranty with unlimited mileage, five years maintenance package or 100,000km whichever comes first and complementary insurance and registration for one year as part of the special offer. This offer is available on the Maserati Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante models.

The exclusive offer will be available until end of Ramadan 2017 at the Maserati showroom. The showroom is in Azaiba and the working hours are from Saturday to Thursday from 10am to 12:30pm and from 8:30pm to 12am during Ramadan.  

2015_BAIC_A1_Hatch_Top

BAIC

Gulf Great Sands (GGS), the exclusive importer of BAIC in Oman, has announced the ‘Time for More’ Ramadan offer on BAIC vehicles. The BAIC Oman Ramadan offer will go on till July 17. The offer includes an attractive cash gift, low EMI, free first year insurance (Oman and the UAE), free first year registration, free gift fuel card, free first year 24 hours roadside assistance and manufacturer’s warranty.

The offer is available on A115 (sedan and hatchback; 1.5l, 111hp), Grand Tiger G3 Pickup single cab pickup (2.2l, 103hp), X65 2WD Crossover (2l turbo engine), Grand Tiger TUV double cab pickup (2WD and 4WD; 2.4l, 134hp) and BJ40 and BJ40L SUV (4WD; 2.3l Turbo, 231 hp). Following are the value propositions on all BAIC models

Assured cash gift of RO900 on A115 (sedan and hatchback), RO900 on Grand Tiger G3 Pickup single cab pickup, RO1,500 on X65 - Crossover, RO1,500 on Grand Tiger TUV double cab pickup (2WD and 4WD) and RO2,500 on BJ40 (4WD) SUV, which can be used as a part of down payment, if required.

Manufacturer’s warranty on A115 (sedan and hatchback), X65 Crossover and BJ40 (4WD) SUV is 5 years/100,000km (whichever is earlier) and manufacturer’s warranty for Grand Tiger G3 Pickup and Grand Tiger TUV Pickup is 3 years/100,000km (whichever is earlier).

Free gift fuel card on A115 (sedan and hatchback) is of RO100, that on Grand Tiger G3 Pickup single cab pickup is RO100, that on X65  Crossover is RO150, that on Grand Tiger TUV double cab pickup (2WD and 4WD) is RO150 and that on BJ40 (4WD) SUV is RO250.

Free first year insurance, free first year registration and free first year 24 hours roadside assistance is valid on A115 (sedan and hatchback), Grand Tiger G3 Pickup single cab pickup, X65 - Crossover, Grand Tiger TUV double cab pickup (2WD and 4WD) and BJ40 (4WD) SUV. Customers can now own a vehicle with low EMI.

Customers can avail EMI rates by paying 20 per cent down payment and six years finance for BAIC models/variants. It is also subject to credit approvals from banks and finance companies.

Shifting gears
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