Buying a car in Bahrain

Your guide to purchasing a motor on the island

Interview, The Knowledge
Interview, The Knowledge

Bahrain’s love affair with wheels doesn’t stop at supercars and SUVs. In a city where petrol prices are among the cheapest in the world and pedestrian infrastructure is still developing, many choose to buy cars over renting or taking taxis. So, if you’re in the market for a new or second-hand ride you’ll want to read this before you shop around.

Which cars retain their value?
Generally speaking, a new car will lose around twenty percent of its value in the first year of ownership, dropping a further ten percent in the next two years. Japanese brands tend to maintain good resale value, particularly commuter cars such as the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Tiida and Toyota Yaris. Provided you take good care of the vehicle, you should be able to recoup a sizeable chunk of your initial outlay when buying new. Some American cars, such as Jeep Grand Cherokees, are also in high demand. But it’s not all doom and gloom for owners of other branded vehicles, because low mileage and a service record done by the car’s manufacturer will aid the resale value of any vehicle.

When it comes to high-end vehicles, luxury cars like Audi, Mercedes and BMW will always be in good demand. Although the pricier the car, the higher the drop in resale value. Korean cars, meanwhile, such as Hyundai and Kia, used to be looked down upon, but are now rapidly gaining in reputation and popularity, and are therefore less of a risk than in times gone by. French cars tend to be lowest in terms of resale value.

Which cars are most popular?
Unsurprisingly, given the region’s terrain and environmental challenges, the GCC market loves a gas-guzzling SUV or 4x4, such as the mammoth Toyota Land Cruiser, which would be a rare sighting in most other parts of the world. This is largely due to the relatively low cost of running such a vehicle, cheap fuel, plus higher disposable incomes.

How do dealers set their rates?
Imthishan Giado, managing partner of automobile website Motoring Middle East, tells us, ‘Dealer prices are set by a combination of factors including the level of options required to sell the car, the cost of homologation [road worthiness] to GCC spec and the current value of currency, which can fluctuate dramatically. The last factor can be crucial – the soaring yen has seen the price of Japanese cars rise considerably in the last three years, while European and American cars have never been cheaper.’

When is the best time of year to buy?
‘Best time of year to strike a deal is right now,’ says Giado. ‘In summer, dealers are desperate to shift stock and will cut the price of previous model years. Both Ramadan and Eid are also ripe for offers.’

Is three- or five-year finance best?
‘Anything that gets you through your loan agreement the fastest is ideal,’ says Giado. ‘For every year you tack on in finance, you swell the amount of interest you pay. Five-year rates get you a temptingly low monthly installment, but it adds up to a hefty profit margin for the dealer as well.’ Another popular, more flexible option is PTP, or personal finance. This allows you to make a down payment and pay a monthly sum. Then, at the end of the term, you can finance for a further length of time, giving the car back and walking away, or exchanging the vehicle for a new one.

Hot Ramadan offers

Behbehani Brothers
Volkswagen’s authorised dealer, Behbehani Brothers, is offering hot deals on a variety of cars during Ramadan, with prices for the Jetta starting from BD5,990, the Passat from BD6,990, the CC from BD10,990, the Tiguan from BD8,990 and the Touareg from BD15,990. Volkswagen’s Service Excellence is also included with every car, offering three years’/45,000km free service, three years’ roadside assistance and five years’ extended warranty with unlimited mileage. Customers can also benefit from a low interest rate of 2.25 percent.
Upcoming new models to be launched later this year include the new-generation Beetle, Golf R, Scirocco, Jetta and Touareg. Call 8000 1032.

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