The Differences Between Buying and Leasing Cars in the UAE



As a new arrival to the UAE the decision regarding your car is a big one. Will you be staying for a long time, do you plan to explore the UAE or simply stay in town, or, do you need more than one car? These questions are often agonising, hopefully this article will help.


When we buy cars we are guaranteed a certain amount of money back when we sell it. This is the biggest draw for many when buying a car, leasing can be seen as a waste of money; paying for something you don’t own. But an as expat, is that really the case?


If your primary reason for buying is because you want to regain some of your spend, you might be choosing the wrong tactic. In the UAE some brands enjoy a reasonable resale fee. Lexus, Toyota, Mercedes, and more, can all be found in the second-hand markets of the UAE and are in demand. But not all brands enjoy the same reputation, whether they deserve one or not. You may arrive from your home country with an expectation of what to drive, take a loan from the bank, and then find out a few years later that reselling your car is very difficult.


Then, there is the is the consideration of finance. Coming from a country with tax on cars you’re likely to find the price of cars in the UAE cheap, and in comparison they are. Furthermore, banks in the UAE are not shy when it comes to car finance and car dealers themselves are always keen to help a customer to buy. The market for buying cars in the UAE is very favourable. But, and it’s a big but, you’re now saddled with a car loan. And in the UAE a loan of any kind must be paid as failure to do so can result in criminal proceedings and a stop at the airport on attempt to exit.


Whilst it’s very unlikely that you’ll fail to keep up with payments the situation of leaving the UAE earlier than planned may present itself. If you have a 5 or 6 year payment schedule and have only made 2 years worth, you’re now faced with either paying off the loan and leaving the car in a car park, or trying to sell it quickly for less than it’s worth. It isn’t uncommon to see second hand car adverts offering cars on the basis of just taking over payments.


If you lease a car from us all you need to do is return it when you are ready to leave.


Of course, everything could go well. And we hope it does. So now the question of whether to lease or buy comes down to running costs. If you buy a new car you can take a service package from the dealer, which is a popular option for many. If you buy second hand you are at the mercy of the UAE’s mechanics, and finding a good one is difficult. Option one costs you money, option two could cost you even more money. We are option three; we take care of servicing and associated costs.


Finally, something you may not have considered, is the time it takes to register a car. If you’re coming from the UK you’re used to buying a car, getting an MOT, and paying for your insurance. You can choose a garage and shop around. MOT garages are not hard to find. But in the UAE the equivalent to an MOT test is done by the government itself and only and specified locations. Whilst the teams that inspect the cars and process the paperwork do a fine job, there are only 24 hours in one day and it can take hours to register a car, such is the nature of the system. You may need to take a day off work.

It’s in our interests to help you lease a car, so you may have read this article thinking we have painted lease over buy as a more attractive option. And, if you’re planning to stay for five or more years buying a car in the UAE may be the better option. But if you’re here for a year or two it may not be. Leasing a car may be cheaper, it will certainly be more convenient.