UAE cracks down on importing of Volkswagen electric vehicles through unapproved traders

Decision aims to ensure that the vehicles meet the country's market requirements and have undergone proper testing

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Published: Tue 14 Mar 2023, 1:46 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Mar 2023, 10:53 PM

The UAE's Ministry of Economy has announced a temporary ban on imports of Volkswagen electric cars through unapproved traders. The suspension applies to the registration of VW electric cars manufactured in China at the country’s licensing departments.

From now on, all new Volkswagens sold in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, will be processed through Al Nabooda Automobiles. These vehicles must be built and tested to meet UAE market requirements.

In an earlier interview with Khaleej Times, Victor Dalmau, managing director of Volkswagen Middle East, said that he is “very concerned” about customers not being privy to all the information they need in order for them to make an informed decision.

Dalmau said that there are three consequences for customers buying these vehicles. Firstly, these vehicles do not meet all the legal requirements set by the UAE authorities. Secondly, these vehicles have not been tested, nor authorised, by Volkswagen to be used in the UAE. Therefore, the brand cannot guarantee their full proper functionality. Lastly, as a consequence of not being authorised by the manufacturer, these products have no warranty, nor can they be serviced by any official Volkswagen dealerships.

After the recent decision by the ministry, the company issued a statement: “Volkswagen and Al Nabooda Automobiles, the official dealer in Dubai and the Northern Emirates are aware that the UAE Ministry of Economy has released a ministerial resolution regarding the importing of Volkswagen Electric vehicles into the UAE through unapproved dealerships and traders.

"Both Volkswagen and Al Nabooda Automobiles welcome this resolution. Together our priority continues to be the safety of our customers, we remain committed to ensuring Volkswagen drivers can enjoy the car they drive and can feel assured that their vehicle is built and tested for this market, to both the highest standards of quality and safety and always in line with local laws."

The problem

Customers get tempted by the comparatively lower prices on EV models that make their way to the UAE’s grey market. In the case of Volkswagen’s all-electric products – such as the ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, and ID.6 – which are currently being sold by unofficial importers in the UAE, customers will end up with the Chinese variants of these products which have not been designed and built for the UAE market.

Volkswagen recalls

Volkswagen recently recalled its ID.4 models worldwide due to a battery defect.

The VW ID.4 (2023) model has been recalled due to an incorrectly assembled sealing ring, it may be possible for coolant to enter the high-voltage system, potentially resulting in ground bouncing in the low-voltage system. This may interfere with the CAN communication and voltage supply of safety-critical control modules. Coolant ingress has the potential to affect safety-critical control modules and/or vehicle warning lights. Diminished performance of safety-critical systems may affect vehicle control or performance in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury. It can also result in an unintended airbag deployment, increasing the risk of injury or a crash.

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