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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Eight things to consider when buying a car in Qatar

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Due to an influx of new expats after the summer, September is a popular month for car-buying in Qatar.

Whether you’re getting a new vehicle or opting for one that’s been previously owned, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind when making your final decision. Here are some tips from a local auto expert to help you navigate the waters:

When it comes to new cars, shop around

Apart from the official showroom, also check the price at other dealers who have mixed brands on offer. Most of the time, they will be able to give you more of a discount than the showroom itself.

And you may also be able to get extras like tint protection for windows thrown in for free. With warranty and insurance on par with the showrooms, this is a win-win situation.

Take advantage of promotions

With Eid Al Adha just around the corner, many dealerships will be offering special offers to woo customers.

For example, some showrooms will throw the cost of insurance or other freebies in as part of their sale.

Get your money ready

Telling the salesperson that you are ready to make a down payment on the spot gives you better bargaining power. For those who aren’t flush with that much cash, bank loans are another popular way to pay for cars.

According to Expat Arrivals:

“Most banks in Qatar will offer car loans, usually up to two years, and dealerships will also have loan options, which often include one large down payment followed by three to four monthly installments. Alternatively, some companies will offer loan schemes that then deduct monthly payments from the buyer’s salary.”

Secure the best warranty

For a hassle-free ownership experience, remember that cars = moving parts. It’s only going to be a matter of time before you need to replace something, so pick a car that offers you a great warranty (while making sure it still falls in your budget).

In this regard, turn to the internet to learn more about your potential vehicle’s service centers. Some models are known for having terrible after-sales service, though the Ministry of Economy and Commerce has recently warned dealerships to uphold consumer rights.

Consider buying company-certified used cars

Cars lose most of their value in the first two years. So if you are not too particular about the new smell of a car, then look for vehicles that are just a year or two old – the fewer kilometers on the odometer, the better.

That way you can get the car you want for much less. One option for used cars is to go for company-certified cars. These tend to be a bit more expensive than the ones sold by individual owners, but you are assured that the car is in good condition. If you’re planning to buy from a fellow resident, learn more on how to avoid being scammed here.

Do your homework

When considering buying a used car from an individual, make sure to not only take your own test drives (in neighborhoods and at faster speeds), but to also get the vehicle checked at a “computer checking center” around town, and by a mechanic if possible.

This will give you a fair idea about the engine performance, the chassis rigidity and the paint uniformity. Also check the tires, including the spare one, and lights, wipers, fog lamps – basically everything that you possibly can.

Snoop into the service history

Secure the last six digits of the used car’s engine number, and call or visit the vehicle’s service center to get the car’s service history. The personnel there are used to these kind of queries and should be able to provide you with details.

Another option is to seek a full ownership and accident history from the traffic department.

Don’t forget registration and insurance

New or used your car cannot be driven legally here until you have a driver’s license, car insurance and vehicle registration (in that order).

In Qatar, the vehicle is insured, not the driver, which means that anyone with a driver’s license can use the car without being penalized for making claims in the event of an accident. Policies typically last for 12 months.

car driving

Once you’ve secured insurance, you can move on to registration. For those buying used vehicles, check to see how long the the registration of the car is valid until (it needs to be renewed annually).

Keep in mind that once cars are three years old, they must go through an annual inspection to ensure they are safe. This inspection is done at technical centers that check the brakes, headlights, engine noise, battery condition, etc. Learn more about this here.

What are your top car-buying tips? Thoughts?

36 COMMENTS

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MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Well shopping around is a great idea in a normal country but many brands here are sold through exclusive agreements, i.e. a monopoly.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

Leasing is a great option for those on a fixed duration contact, especially if you don’t have a lot of Riyals in a local bank account yet. I don’t think all dealers offer this option yet, but it seems like it’s starting to catch on in Qatar.

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Many dealers offer leasing options, usually 2-3 years. Long term renting for shorter periods is also a good option just make sure you’re renting from a legitimate company, get the car serviced regularly and are fully insured. Ask for a copy of the policy to be with you, you’d be surprised how many rent a car without proper insurance despite needing insurance for registration.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

Buy the largest car you can afford. Don’t buy used European cars. Any car that’s more than 3 years old will mean it’s warranty has most likely expired, therefore stick to Japanese cars where parts are cheaper than their European counters.

Also make sure you rotate your tires frequently, so little people do this in Doha. Bad roads and the brakes on hot roads means they will wear and tear quickly.

Never ever use one of those small and cheap Indian workshops for any fix that’ll take more than an hr! If you leave your car be sure your western face is an invitation for them to rip out working parts in your car and replace them with used or counter fit parts. They will sale your car parts onwards or even install fake parts in your car.

Always ask for a certificate of authenticity for the parts they install.. Even large brand name garages will try to rip you off..

If it’s a new car with leather interior take it to a place like ziebart and have them polish the leather with sun protection polish … It’ll help make it last under the baking sun… Tiny your windows for UV protection, you’ll need it…

Always always always make sure you AC works properly …

Guest
Guest
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

.

Sminto Antony [sAm]
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

If it’s a NO to INDIAN workshops, which country does it right then ? – Mr. INDIA

BillyBob
BillyBob
6 years ago

1 – 0

Sminto Antony [sAm]
6 years ago
Reply to  BillyBob

What’s that Billy ?

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago

Rent a car until April or May. Then everyone who is leaving Doha will have to sell, often for a better price than you can get in September.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

Make you sure you check qatarliving, dubizzle, qatarsale and other websites. You can easily find a good deal among the thousands of cars for sale every day.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

Check all rubber parts on used cars. Tires, belts, engine mounts, shock bushings, etc. With the high heat and humidity here they go fast. 5 years seems to be the absolute max. Tires around 2 yrs. That great deal on a used car can quickly become not so much if you have to repair all these things. Check the age of the tires. The manuf date is embedded in the code on the sidewall. I had a guy try to sell me an ’08 H3 with “new” tires. After checking the date found they were the original tires.

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

hehehe I have an SUV and rude drivers in both sedans and SUVs will haggle you just because.

However, all your tips are in order! Sad that the monopoly exists, especially with many luxury brands such as BMW… #Sigh

Sminto Antony [sAm]
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Well written desertCard.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

So you believe that you can state that the provider for BMW services fail to do a good job, but decline to name them when everyone in Doha knows they are the sole dealer? LOL.

While we are at it, let me mention this dealer also sucks balls when it comes to their Land Rover cars too, Mercedes dealer is also trash.

BillyBob
BillyBob
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Let me throw in Dodge there too.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

They don’t need to provide good service as they are the monopoly and employ certain nationalities that seems to specialised in ripping off customers.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

If I don’t mention name I can then plead ignorance of he or she owning a monopoly. I hope.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

How about some tips for selling? To private individuals vs. showrooms, what’s the process, how to get best value

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Try to sell to an individual your know or at least comes recommended first before selling to any showroom. Showrooms will always offer you less in the hopes that they’ll make a profit when reselling. Some showrooms even shy away from used cars if it’s not a trade in.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Like anywhere for the most money return sell to an individual. Dealers need to mark up and your asking price makes the margins too thin. Unless you’re buying from the same dealer and could work out a good trade deal. Even then you’ll probably give up some value. But then less hassle.

And it is a hassle selling cars here. Of the 100 calls you get 10 may be legit. Many times the Salwa Rd guys will call as a private buyer and extremely low-ball you.

You’ll have to meet everyone interested to test drive the car. Be prepared to have to meet, and wait for, many people at night and all weekend. Some don’t show and don’t call or answer their phones when you try to call them.

Best bet. Advertise with your friends as much as possible. If you luck out finding someone in the market they generally won’t waste your time or beat you down on price.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Selling to someone I know would definitely be best, as the main part I’m nervous about is the actual transaction, having been on the receiving end of a bad cheque once before I’m not keen on repeating the experience

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Cash only my friend. Never a check. If they got money to write a check they have money to withdraw from the bank. Friend or not.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

I like cash. Just didn’t assume anyone would be happy to walk around with a large sum of cash

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Pretty much how it’s done here it seems. At least in my experience. We bought a new car from Volvo the same way. Your more apt to misplace it than get it stolen so just be mindful of yourself.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

thanks, good to know

Ms. Hala
6 years ago

Not to sound rude but this article pretty much applies for buying a car almost anywhere. Yes, Qatar is unique, car values don’t drop so easily as in the US, but the fact remains that if you are going to buy a car, you need to do your homework and shop around. Know your budget (and stay within it), how long you plan to live in Qatar and your back up plan for when you have to sell the car at a moment’s notice.

I personally work in the automotive industry and can tell you that depending on one’s situation, buying or leasing a new car is a better option as many of the new cars follow the latest GSO safety and standard regulations (proper seat belts, all around airbags, functioning AC, etc.). I didn’t know what my situation was going to be so I rented my first 8 months in Qatar before I bought my car. I recommend you buy your car if you plan on being here for more than 2 years, lease if you know you are only staying for less time. If you’ll buy used, keep it below 3-4 years old as with the road conditions and the hot weather, repairs will be a necessity (and a massive hassle).

Also note that with a new car, you can take that little investment with you! I know many whom have taken their cars when they’ve moved within the Middle East and as far as Europe when their contract ended. If you need any help when purchasing a car, I’d be more than happy to assist.

FYI, I’m not in sales. =)

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Ms. Hala

Unfortunately you can’t take them to the USA. Enviro specs on cars are, oddly enough, more stringent than Europe. I got a good deal on mine, wish I could.

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

You can actually if your car is made or meets the US standards. However, some specs are different but regulation and standard wise, you should be good.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Ms. Hala

Seatbelts? What does one do with them ;-0…

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

hehehe You’d be surprised how many cars are sold out here in the region without them.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

I recently sold our second car, The guy who bought it took it to be looked over at one of the ‘German’ testing places on Salwa Rd, and as we had looked after it no fault was found. I’d advise using one of these places to go over a 2nd hand car with a fine tooth comb. Also for selling, be wary of the clowns at second hand dealerships who trawl the selling websites and facebook, I got a call from some dodgy English fellow within minutes of posting, who would have put Arthur Daly (Minder TV Series) to shame, absolute shonk he was, I got 6000 QAR more then he offered as a “really good price,” he knew the market , I’ll be there this afternoon with a cheque if you agree…blah blah blah…

Jimarchy
Jimarchy
6 years ago

Just because your car has been inspected by one of the Inspection Garages doesnt mean that it is in good condition. They missed a faulty key, a leaking radiator and an large oil leak on the car I bought! I spent another QAR5k putting that right even though the inspection report said it was all ok!

If you can afford to and plan on staying for a few years then buy a new Toyota Prado. Reliable, low depreciation, easy to sell.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Pool the money and buy a helicopter with friends, driving here is not only crazy dangerous and lawless, it is slow, clogged and gridlocked.

Mark Davis
Mark Davis
6 years ago

Hello
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markdavisfirm@yahoo.com

LOAN APPLICATION FORM:

Name:
Address:
Nationality:
Country:
Zip/Code:
Date of Birth:
Gender:
Marital Status:
Amount Required:
Purpose for Loan:
Occupation:
Phone No:
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Net monthly income:
Contact Person: Mr. Mark Davis.
E-mail: markdavisfirm@yahoo.com
Team Regards.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Mark Davis

Wow, just what I’ve been looking for, I will send you all my personal and financial details right away. How much money shall I also send?

Stacey J. Ashbrook
Stacey J. Ashbrook
6 years ago

With new cars, dealerships often assist with insurance and vehicle registration. When buying a used car, most people use the same insurer as the previous owner to save time and effort.

Stacey@AMTwarrantycorp

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