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Saudi bans old cars

Saudi bans old cars

The kingdom has prohibited the import of cars which are older than five years. The move is expected to adversely affect a lot of car dealers, reports Arab News.

June 9, 2009 11:58 by

The Saudi Customs Department has started implementing an official decision banning the import of cars older than five years into the kingdom. “The ban is on used cars, buses and other light goods vehicles more than five years old. Heavy vehicles more than 10 years old are also not allowed to be imported,” Suleiman Al-Tuwaijeri, director of the Customs Department at the Jeddah Islamic Port, told Arab News.

The ban does not, however, cover spare parts for old vehicles in use, Al-Tuwaijeri said, adding that a six-month grace period has been granted to importers to set matters straight.

More than 140,000 used cars valued at SR17.5 billion ($4.6 billion) were imported in 2008. This accounted for 24 percent of total cars imported during the year.

“I don’t know what I am going to do next as the ban is a blow to my business of 24 years,” said Mustafa Baqsha, an importer of used cars.

He estimated 80 percent of workers in the used car market would become unemployed as a result of the ban. “I hope the authorities would review or at least relax the decision to make the ban applicable to cars manufactured before 2000.”

Saleh Abdullah, another trader, said that because of the ban, he had to dismiss some of his workers, and was also moving to a cheaper building. “I used to spend SR500,000 ($133,300) on rent and salaries a month, but now I have to move to cope with the falling income,” Abdullah said.

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