Stiff competition as well as online selling/buying of used vehicles, continue to pose a big challenge for many traders in the field in Doha, it is learnt.
A manager of one of the shops selling used cars along Salwa road told Gulf Times that many new shops have opened in the country in recent years but the number of prospective buyers has not kept pace with the increase in the number of traders.
“Buying a car seems to be the last priority of residents nowadays. Since last year many of them have been using their existing cars and not considering replacing them,” he noted.
From an average of more than 20 vehicles a day in previous years, he stressed that the number of cars they could sell has dropped to one or two. “If we are too lucky, we get two or three customers, business is really bad.”
The shop sells various brands of both luxury and ordinary sedans and sport utility vehicles, among others.
This was also the case in another showroom in the same area where sales are at its all-time low: zero on some days and about three cars in a week at the most.
Another manager of a shop said that business has slowed down since last year with an 80% drop in sales and the trend continues until now.
“Before, we used to sell between 18 to 25 vehicles a day but now it is very hard to sell three , whatever the brands are,” he noted. “There are too many used cars in the market and at the same time, some people are leaving the country for good.”
In addition to the rising competition, one manager said that online selling/buying is also “getting a good fraction of the pie.”
He explained that many people find it easier to browse popular websites on their devices and check the details (specifications) and pictures of the vehicle they want to buy.
“They can also directly speak with the car owner and it will be easier for them to negotiate the price," he said.
While various promotions and discounts are offered by shops, he admitted that some customers believe that they get a better deal when they deal directly with the car owners.
A long-time Filipino expatriate echoed the manager’s statement saying that most prospective buyers would always want to know the history of the car from the owner.
Asked if it is difficult to sell used cars nowadays, he said he was able to make a deal a week after posting the pictures of his Nissan Altima 2010 model online. The car, pegged at QR27,000, has done 75,000 km.
“A lot of people called me up the following day and a compatriot paid for a reservation fee,” he added.
He had bought the same car from an expatriate a few years back through the same website, which many residents in Doha have been frequently visiting.
A woman who posted pictures of her Honda CR-V 2013 model online said she received two calls and was sure to make a deal on the same day.
But for those who are selling their slightly used cars, prospective buyers seemed to be very few.
A woman who wants to sell her 2015 model Nissan Juke said she posted pictures of her car online 26 days ago but rarely received any response. "The car is almost new with full insurance, and it is in a very good condition but until now I haven’t found a serious buyer,” she noted. The owner hopes to make a deal in a week's time since she is set to leave the country “very soon.”
Despite paying for a series of advertisements in some newspapers, she said no one called or emailed her to inquire about the car. The car has done around 17,000 km with no record of any accident.
The woman added that she also called up her friends and colleagues to help in looking for prospective buyers but have yet to get any positive response.
“A few years back, this was not the case,” she recounted. “My friend had posted the pictures and details of her car online and it was sold in a matter of three hours. Her car was even older with a mileage of more than 50,000.”
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