Abu Dhabi authorities told all used car dealers to meet a deadline at the end of April and shift their showrooms to a new location in Shamkha nearly 40 km away from the city, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Car shop owners had originally been given until the end of June 2011 to leave but the deadline was extended at their request so they can dismantle their business, which is concentrated on Airport Road in the capital.
The semi official daily Alittihad said nearly 70 showrooms are expected to complete their move by the end of April while those who fail to shift would not be able to have their business licence renewed.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) has already constructed more than 100 show rooms for the dealers in a massive complex called “Motor World” in Shamkha. But many dealers have complained about the exorbitant rents, which they say would make their business unfeasible.
“DED has taken those complaints into consideration and offered dealers to pay in four installments…as a result, more than 90 per cent of Motor World has been leased,” the paper said, quoting DED sources.
The paper said Motor World, not far from Abu Dhabi airport, also includes many other services like car wash, maintenance, and registration and car park spaces. It also comprises a three-star hotel, auto spare parts and accessories shops, restaurants, parks and other facilities.
“According to the decision, no new business licences or renewal of existing licences will be given to those shops until after they shift to the Motor World.”
DED has given no reason for the move but Abu Dhabi, the main oil producing emirate in the UAE, has been locked in a massive development and reorganization plan within its long-term strategy dubbed Vision 2030.
The plan involves infrastructure expansions, relocation of car repair garages, moving construction workers out of the city and other projects. Most of Abu Dhabi’s used car shops are located on the Airport Road, where more than 100 such shops dot both sides of the road. Scores of new car showrooms are also scattered through the city of nearly 1.5 million people.