How to check if the car is GCC specs or Non-GCC specs


One of the key issues in the GCC market is the overwhelming influx of non GCC spec cars being sold to consumers in UAE. I am not saying that buying an imported car is a wrong thing, but what I would emphasis on is the fact that, it is risky if you don’t do your research. Knowing the pro’s and con’s of what you are investing in, would be a smarter approach. At the end, it’s your money & choice as to what to buy and at what the risks are.

From my experience here in Dubai, being in the used car market for a long time, I have come across numerous occasions where owners don’t know whether their car was GCC spec or Non-GCC (in terms of origin of the car). In this blog I will try to explain how to check if the used car you are buying is GCC specs or a Non-GCC. When I use the term “Non-GCC”, I am referring to cars from either USA or Japan. But the same approach in identifying “Non-GCC” would be applicable for cars from Canada or even the EU, all depends on what to check and where to look.

Primarily, you will look online for a used car or a new one when you decide to buy one. Buying a new car is always a better option out of the two.  Let’s suppose you want to buy a used car and not a new one, you will most likely land on Now, its not important for me to discussed what brand you should chose, because that’s your personal choice but I will mention the few brands that are more common to be from the “Non-GCC” category then GCC. For example, FORD and MERCEDES are the 2 brands that are commonly found to be imported from abroad. Ford cars are imported from USA and majority of Mercedes brands are imported from Japan as per my knowledge in the market (in terms of used cars). Cars imported from the USA 80% of the time are SALVAGED. Meaning, that they car was in an accident to a certain extent that the insurance companies found it more expensive to fix, so what they do is, they sell it to overseas buyers, where the buyers repair them and resell them in their markets.

Japanese cars on the other hand are more safer to invest in rather than the USA specs, because mostly Japanese cars are in good shape and mostly would not have damage to them, but if you are going to buy one, its always good to double check because, if you decided to buy one, does not mean that someone will be as interested as you are when you are about to sell it, so loss on the Non-GCC cars in general is higher than the GCC ones.

If you decide to buy either of the 2 (used) then you should look closely to determine if they are GCC or Non-GCC. The Key difference between the 2 will be the PRICE. You will find that GCC cars will be higher in price than the Other Non-GCC specs. There are other ways to visually check to see if the car is imported or not at first. Then secondly you will look at the condition to see if its damaged or not and lastly you will have to decide how much to pay for, which is the hardest part out of the 3 mentioned above. I will give you the advice to the 1st two and you will have to decide on the last one (price).


  • By law, UAE Spec cars must have ARABIC writing on the side mirrors. If you see ENGLISH, then the car is Non-GCC. But to be sure, you have to verify #2 below along with #1 ( #2 is a must ).
Arabic writing on the side mirrors
  • By law, UAE Spec cars must have inside the driver side door the import details in ARABIC (model year and chassis number)
Arabic sticker inside the drive side door
  • By law, UAE Spec cars must have safety stickers inside of the car (this one is from the drop-down shade protector, from over the head of the driver side).
  • This is not that crucial; some cars might not have them as the adhesive may have melted and the sticker probably fell off. So, I would suggest not to make an issue out of it if you don’t see one, but 1 or 2 are a MUST.
Safety stickers inside the car ARABIC

So, look for the 3 items I have mentioned in order to determine of the car you are buying is GCC specs or Non-GCC specs. For Non-GCC spec cars, you must always do a comprehensive test if you are REALLY interested in buying one here in the UAE. I have always suggested to firstly buy a BRAND-NEW CAR, if not, then buy a used GCC SPEC car.


Now let’s see the mechanical differences as to why they are different! The primary and key difference between imported and GCC spec cars. For example:

  • Radiators: The capacity of GCC cars radiators is supposed to be more than imported cars to adapt to the extreme heat during gulf summer.
  • Air Conditions: The AC compressor in GCC cars work far more effectively than non-GCC ones.
  • Air Filters: Provided the conditions in Gulf countries, GCC spec cars have air filters that are modified to protect the engine in such weather conditions.

So, now you know by the information above how to check and see if the car is GCC spec or Non-GCC specs and the key technical difference between the both. It’s better to be informed than the latter. Hope you make the right choice and not lose money down the line.


  1. Chryss Stathopoulos

    Hello, can you please cite the law that requires Arabic writing on the mirrors as well as the import details sticker? I don’t have these on my recently purchased Jaguar, however the dealer assured me its GCC specs.

    1. Hi, There are a few ways you can verify if the car is GCC Spec officially. My methods, which i have mentioned in my articles are a common known indicators in the used car market.
      1. All New car dealerships here ( Majid Al Futtaim, al rostamani etc..) They send to the manufacturer the specification which are required for the car to be considered a GCC spec which meets the local requirements ( the ones mentioned in my blog).

      Here is what you can do:
      1. Ask the seller to show you the import certificate which is issued to every vehicle imported into the UAE. That certificate will say if the car is GCC Spec or None GCC Spec. When the car lands in customs, the customs verifies the car and issues this certificate and there the customs mentions if the car is GCC spec or not.
      2. If the seller refuses to share the original import certificate which matches your car Chassis number aka VIN number (must verify the chassis number on the certificate vs the one on our yellow mulkia a.k.a registration card or you can find the chassis number on the driver side of the door of your car where you will find a steal plaque embedded into the door frame. Or other option is that you can go to RTA and ask them for the same (import certificate). Every importer has to initially register the car under this showroom name or their own name if they imported just one car. RTA should be able to share with you or at least look at their records and see if the car was imported as a GCC spec or a non GCC spec car.

      Hope this helps and hope you get your issue resolved, this is one of the reasons i have launched my site, to help people from avoid getting scammed.

    1. Dear Dr Ajit, Appreciate your comments and feed back. If you have any UAE Car related questions, you may post them in the comments section and i will try to do my best to answer them. Tc

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