Car sales increase in the Middle East for 2012

Car sales increase in the Middle East for 2012

There’s a lot of talk about a second recession hitting at some point in the near future, on the back of an economic downturn in Europe. But that hasn’t affected car sales in the Middle East, and the GCC in particular, as almost all brands have reported a further increase in sales for 2012. For a look at the cross-section of the market, here’s the results from Ford, BMW, Volvo, Porsche, Hyundai and Toyota.

2012 Ford Expedition

Ford-Lincoln has announced a 10% increase in Middle East sales for 2012 compared to 2011, with most of the increase occurring in the last part of the year. The UAE itself experienced a massive 55% increase, thanks likely to the new Ford Explorer; while Saudi Arabia experienced stagnant sales due to the death of the Ford Crown Victoria, compensated for with an increase in popularity of the Ford Expedition there. Ford also saw unprecedented growth in the remaining GCC markets where sales recorded an increase of 107% in Qatar, 42% in Oman and 48% in Bahrain. Total sales exceeded 75,000 units.

2011 BMW 5-Series M Sport

BMW-Mini announced an increase of 14% in 2012 sales over 2011 in the Middle East, with the UAE accounting for 47% of all BMW sales in the region. Abu Dhabi was the highest-volume market, with a 21% growth, while Dubai witnessed an increase of 5%. Saudi Arabia was the third highest-volume market, with 17% growth. Other top performing markets included Kuwait, with a growth of 37%, the highest amongst all BMW Group Middle East importers, and Oman increased sales by 33% and Lebanon by 25%. The latest BMW 5-Series has become a surprise, beating out the 7-Series, BMW X5 and BMW X6 in their internal sales rankings for the first time in years. Total sales exceeded 21,000 units.


Volvo announced that they hit “record-breaking” sales in 2012 with an increase of 40% on top of 2011’s growth of 23%. The manufacturer’s Middle East sales were mainly driven by the Volvo XC90 and XC60. The UAE was the best-selling market in the Middle East with approximately 27% growth in 2012, with 904 sales. This is followed by Egypt as the second-leading market in Volvo sales with 600 units and 96% growth since 2011. Volvo also achieved significant growth across the GCC with Bahrain at 94%, and Kuwait and Qatar each at 60%. Total figures were not mentioned, although we estimate it to be less than 3,000 in the Middle East.

2011 Porsche Cayenne

Porsche had a 15% increase in Middle East sales for 2012. At the close of the year, 9,171 vehicles were delivered to customers across the region. Apparently 1,099 cars were delivered in December itself, possibly due to year-end incentives. The UAE remains the company’s best market. The Porsche Cayenne accounted for more than half of all sales, with the Panamera and 911 covering most of the rest.

2012 Hyundai Accent

Hyundai announced record sales for the Middle East region in 2012 as well, registering a 7.7% increase compared to 2011, with total sales of 305,800 units. Kuwait registered the biggest growth with sales up 80% to 10,828 units, followed by the United Arab Emirates with a year-on-year increase in sales of 66% to 20,031 vehicles. Saudi Arabia maintained its position as Hyundai’s single biggest market, increasing sales by 15% to 123,796 units. Their top sellers are the Hyundai Accent, Elantra and Tucson.

2012 Toyota Hilux

Toyota remains the king in the Middle East, selling approximately 650,000 units, a 30% growth compared with last year, and more than any of the pre-recession years. Lexus sales in the region have also gone up by approximately 48% year-on-year. Saudi Arabia is the company’s top market, followed by the UAE. Their top sellers are the Toyota Hilux and Corolla, of all things.

What do you think?



  1. Increasing sales in other countries, I can understand but in UAE, I cannot. The central bank here allows only 80% finance which had caused a huge dent in the car sales specially after the recession. So is everyone able to shell out 20% for his dream car. Something is not right in the report.

  2. Author

    The Central Bank law was the best thing they ever did to protect people from their own stupid financial decisions. As with most laws, buyers and dealers have of course adapted, but it’s worth mentioning that a lot of dealers here are involved in re-exporting to other countries in Africa and what not, but it is unknown what percentage of sales accounts for this.

  3. If you dont have 20% of the dream car you want to get, probably you dont deserve it. So better save up and than buy…

    This report seems to be incomplete, but yes sales seems to have increased compared to previous years as people are recovering from the recession…slowly

  4. Hasn’t anyone heard about the numerous work-arounds most dealers are offering so as to get past the 20% down-payment nightmare??

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