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. Hi, thanks for this great write up. I am looking to buy a used car in the UAE for personal use.
    1. I am yet to settle on either a VW Jetta, CC or Tiguan.
    2. Also should i not settle on any of these, which brands would you advice me to stay clear off.


    1. Hi William,

      Happy to answer your questions. From my experience i have seen more Tiguan in the used car market than the other 2 you have mentioned.

      You can also do a simple test, go to dubizzle and see how many of each of the brands you mentioned are listed. The more listing for a particular model means they are sought more by buyers so your bet would be on that brand and model. But out of the three, go with Tiguan.

      Popularity by ranking
      1. GTI
      2. Touareg
      3. Tiguan
      4. Passat

  2. First of all thank you for this enlighten article. I am in Iraq and looking for a grand cherokee and came across American ones and GCC ones. The american ones were more expensive, this was explained by the sellers that the GCC ones are using thinner overall body and that the exterior sound is more intense compared to the USA models and also that the parts aren‘t reliable enough. Does anyone know if there is some truth to that, I mean of course they want to sell the More expensive one but I still wanted to make sure, because the interior of the GCC is much nicer and I definitely want to go for that one if theres no other concerns. Kind Regards

    1. Dear Serhad,

      I thought i had heard it all but i will certainly add this new statement by sellers “that car body is thinner”. LOL, there is no such a thing. Cars manufacturers have to follow global ISO standards. Example: If American cars manufactures assemble cars they do it per brand and all have the same standard regardless of where the cars will be sold. Same with all other manufacturer around the world. USA cars follow Code standard 206 “Standard gauge for sheet and plate iron steel.

      Example: Ford Mustang 2021: Where ever it is sold globally will have the same body sheet thickness
      Example: Ford F150 2021 ( may have slight difference than a mustang in nano centimetres in the thickness of body sheet metal) But where ever they are sold, all will have the same sheet thickness.
      Same with Toyota, nissan, BMW , Mercedes and so on.

  3. It’s such a blessing to come across such an enlightening article. You are doing a great job sir, never stop 🙂

    Back to the topic, I have been on market looking for a nice Mercedes which will be my first car in the UAE. Having researched online and talking to people, I’ve decided not to go for American specs albeit their juicy and attractive prices.

    I’ve instead opted for either the gcc or Japanese spec Mercedes and I found one already – a Japanese spec 2018 E400 with 75k miles on it being put on sale for 140k aed. I have talked to the dealer and gotten the VIN and plan to purchase a CARFAX report but before I proceed, I want know 1.) what price I should try negotiating towards 2.) what questions should I ask? 3.) what garage do you recommend I take the car to within dubai for inspection. Thanks

    1. Dear Sheikh,

      Thanks for the kind words. Will try to help answer your questions.

      1. What price is should try negotiating towards.
      A. Basically when dealers post cars from other region they do their research and by the looks if this offer, he is already a bit low and they always leave room for some negotiations so i would say you would need a topic to your advantage other than just asking for a reduced price. You topic should be warranty. Merc warranty is 24 months unlimited kilometres. So first ask even though it may be beyond that date of year (2018, 2019). So negotiate the price down to 125k if you can and state 3 reasons.

      But before you state the offer ask one question. And follow this process to get the best deal for yourself. Ask if he is giving you any 3rd party warranty. If the answer is no, then state your offer of 125k and state these 3 reasons. 1. The car does not have any warranty. He will say something like, none of the imported ones have, you can counter and say some dealers do give 3rd party warranty, he will then say, i will give you warranty from 3rd party as well. You say, lets talk here, i will manage that myself but say it an a way that its a hassle and you are looking confused. 2nd reason, say the car just became a year older in 2021 so it dropped in value by default. If it was med 2020 you could give a better offer and see what he says. 3rd reason, you can say, if i buy at your price, then in few years when i plan to sell it i will for sure loose money because most people here in dubai look for GCC specs and i will have a hard time selling and will for sure loose money. These three reasons shall make him budge and give you a discount. He will most likely will come down to 135k last last then from 125k you can come up to 129k and move up to 130k as being your last offer and see how it goes. Here is where your emotions will take the best of you if he does not budge from 135k. See what happens and keep using the warranty, resale value being a Japanese spec car and the car is a year older, you can say “i would pay 135k if it was Q3 of 2020 but now its a year older and i am already loosing money on it and he knows that is the fact because he imported it like 2 months ago. Hope he is not reading this but do another trick before you go see him. Most dealers do this. Get a friend or 2 friends to help you out. Have one call and ask about the car and make an offer of 118k last last and say its japanese spec and has no resale value here in the UAE, and see what he makes his last last offer to friend number one. Then a few hours later, have friend number 2 call and make an offer of 122k and see what he says to friend number 2. Now you have information as to what price he is mentioning. By this time he is hearing market value for his car from customers and he is already softening up on his stance. Now you go in and make the kill at 125k and move up giving the 3 reasons i mentioned and see how it goes.

      This above should cover question 1 and most of question 2. If he wins at the price war and you are willing to buy it at what ever price you got agreed upon, let him know you will take the car for full inspection at Ghargash.

      3. So call gargash and see how much they will charge for full inspection ( check for accidents, water damage, paint, mechanics, electronics e.t.c) If you find faults then you can negotiate further and tell him that, if there is something wrong with the car in regards to the above key point then you will renegotiate.

      go to and see prices to the same spec car shipped to UAE…and get an idea…best of luck

      Hope you get the best price.

  4. Hello ,
    I’m interested to buy a Lexus LS 430 you can advise me if Japan specification is better .
    I need for daily use so need to have black interior any serious dealer from where I can buy it as I understand is better to buy new imported .

    1. Hi,

      I personally don’t know anyone selling but these cars are very popular in other emirates ( RAK, Ajman ). Do a search on dubizzle and you will find lots of them. But make sure you check the condition at a garage regardless of it being Japanese or gcc depending on the year of make. Which year are you looking for??

  5. Hi. I must say your blog provides a lot of very specific and valuable information for used car buyers in uae. Thanks for that.
    I’m in that minority who is looking for advice on Japanese imports..
    It’s a 2010 335i convertible with 100k mileage imported from Japan.. Price is 37k.. Can you advise if I should go for it, being 2010, and what price point is right for the car as I don’t have a clue about Japanese resale value so don’t want lose a lot of money by buying at the wrong price.. Would really appreciate your thoughts and advise.

    Thanks, and keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Dear Haris,

      Thanks for landing on my site and stating your kind complements as it means allot to me and gives me fuel to keep on providing information in response based on my experience in the used car market here in the UAE.

      Japanese cars as well as northern american or European should go through the same due diligence in verification and testing. However, Japanese cars ( used imported ) have a better repo based on conditions as compared to other regions. But, we still require the same due diligence for the very reason, you never know what is being imported and whom you are buying it from.

      First and foremost is the price and brand. If we can pass this aspect then we can invest time in getting the car checked and tested, which is part 2 of the process in buying a car in the UAE. A 2010 BMW 335i convertible for a buyer in the retail market should be around in the low 30’s. However, convertibles are not my choice of cars in the UAE, for the very reason. 1. you end up paying more since its a convertible and seems fancy but usability is only seasonal and on top that, if you use convertible function allot in winter you risk getting all sand inside the car and dust ( very often ) and then getting sand in the mechanical aspect of the convertible function which leads to malfunction of the convertible mode as noticed with most of the older cars here in the UAE. So you will risk malfunction of the motor of the mechanical function if used very often and regular interior cleaning.

      “(note, newer convertible cars face the same fate but they are covered under warranty but older cars with the same have gone through lots of convertible usage are prone to malfunction here in the UAE)”

      However, if you want to risk that and use the convertible function at the least then yeah low 30’s is the price in your case. If you say agree on the price of your choice ( based on your desire ) then for sure, get the car checked at a garage for chassis damage and water damage, lots of cars around the time of 2011 tsunami in japan were marked as water damage. If the car checks our find in regards to damage and paint work and you can get it around in the low 30’s based on all risk factors i mentioned. Then buy it and use the convertible in a very limited risk fashion. Hope i was able to shed light on your purchase.

  6. Hi, very good info. much appreciated.

    I happen to know that Renault Koleos “2018” model 0 Km is available in UAE in huge quantity. The asking price is 65000AED for the top variant. I am interested to buy one.
    I checked with the car dealer and they said that the car is not GCC spec, but “Middle East Spec”. I am a bit confused as I have never heard about such spec.
    He said Middle East spec is more advanced as it is EuroV while in GCC spec mandates only Euro IV. And rest specs are all the same as GCC spec.
    Can you please help me know if this is true?
    Also please advise whether it is advisable to buy this spec car.
    Thank You.

    1. Hi,

      Thank you for your question. Basically Euro 4 and Euro 5 are the emission standards which govern the Co2 levels that the car emits. Euro 4 being the older version and Euro 5 being the newer version, however, now there is Euro 6 and even Euro 7 for certain European brands. So not much of a difference in that aspect regarding Middle East Spec vs GCC. All else are the same as we know from the market that lots of our cars get exported to Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan with ease and no issue and vise versa. The only issue you will face is Warranty. These cars will have a local 3rd party warranty as you can read more about it in my last reply on this post. GCC spec cars purchased from authorized dealers will have comprehensive warranty which cover engine. If you are buying this car from an a dealer which is not the authorized dealer for Renault here in UAE then make sure you check the warranty he is offering by calling the warranty supplier and asking them what will be covered under the warranty especially the engine. If the engine is not covered, then i suggest you go with GCC spec sold by authorized dealer which covers engine under warranty. Min warranty is 3 years in UAE and max 5 years. So double check this aspect. And finally, Euro 4 vs Euro 5 not an issue here in UAE. Even newer cars that have not been maintained well fail RTA test due to emission issues regardless if the Emission standards it came with. Hope that helped. Thanks once again for your question hope you find the right car for your budget.

  7. Hi,
    I am so interested in buying an F150 truck fully loaded, there are very few options available in the local market (GCC specs) or you will find with high prices, I have seen a brand new 2020 Canadian specs Ford F150s for sale in dubai with price of used older models, and dealers are offering a 3rd party warranty with “Dynatrade”, the questions 🙂

    1) Do you think for F150 the differences (GCC vs Non-GCC) in Radiator, Compressor and Air filter are there or all Ford is same?
    2) what is your experience with Dynatrade service / repair/ warranty

    Many thanks in advance, and really great efforts you do!

    1. Hi FKH,

      Appreciate you landing on my blog and having a few questions, which i would attempt to answer as precise as possible, all based on my experience and facts.

      1. Even though there are differences in the AC but i would not worry about it, as AC in general would do cooling as required and will not impact here in the UAE. If you feel the cooling is not enough, all you would do is get a higher grade cooling gas replaced which may only coast about 100 AED. Radiator from factory are ok in any country but here since the temperature is a bit high, you will replace the water with a good quality coolant ( liquid ) which will help the engine to cool down. Water will not be enough at times but i would strongly suggest to replace the water from the radiator with a coolant solution and you can find them at every petrol pump or garage. As per the Air filter, do not worry about it, factory one is just good enough, as you know that sand particles are a bit larger than average dust particle so no need to worry there my friend, this filter will certainly catch all the sand you can toss at it. Now to the main question about the Truck it self.

      As you may have read my blog in the subject, you will need to do your due diligence in confirming that the truck is not salvaged or been repainted. Take it to a known garage and get it all check out before you buy it (cost 500 max). There are some not so honest dealers out there so your focus on quality is highly needed here.

      Now for the warranty, you need to understand that Dynatrade does not offer warranty on their own. There were (2) 3rd party companies that used to offer warranty for imported cars such as the one you are interested in. 1. Gulf warranty ( out of business ) 2. Motorprime.

      Now i am 95% sure that who ever is selling this to you has gotten a deal with Motorprime to issue warranty for your truck, and if you ever claim then you will need to take it ONLY to dynatrade as a service provider to Motorprime. Then dynatrade will send a quotation to Motorprime and then they will either accept or reject the repair depending on your claim and the warranty type. Now, keep in mind that normal warranty for Ford UAE (al tayer motors) is 5 year or 100,000 kms standard since 2013 and can be extended upon purchase to 6 year or 200,000 which ever comes first. But the key difference here is that Al tayer will cover engine and gear box but Motorprime may not. So if your trucks engine fails then you are most likely stuck paying out of your pocket. So confirm with Motorprime that it will cover all what Al tayer covers for their trucks. Then it will make sense to proceed. But why pay less and then worry all the time.

      Ensure what the warranty will cover and what the insurance will cover. You want to ensure that engine and gear box and key engine components are covered. Rest is up to you. Imported cars have their own risk ( condition and warranty coverage ) Some people just overlook it as they are more keen in hoping in and driving the car than to worry about issue that they may face once thing go belly up. I don’t see any issue with AC, radiator or air filter as all those are workable even though there are slight variations from region to region but key issue here is warranty. Hope that helps. best of luck and stay away from risks. There is no such thing is fun if it involves losing money, unless you are RICH and don’t care 🙂 . Cheers

  8. Hello,
    I’d like to thank you for this amazing write up, as well as your continued support in the comments.

    Finding proper information like this is quite difficult in Saudi Arabia which leaves you no choice but to take risks and spend hours calling and asking people pretaining rules and regulations.
    I’m very glad I was able to find an excellent English article explaining all this first hand. The Used car market in the UAE can be quite deceiving to Saudis due to their extremely low prices, I’ve always felt that their used cars were priced that way for a reason.

    1. Dear Mr. Abdulrahman,

      Much appreciate your kind words and just for these kind of comments and words i continue on providing information regarding general public issues pertaining to used car market. I was working in the used car market for a very long time and i have seen countless cases where people have been ripped off and have been fooled into selling their cars for throwaway prices. Then came a time where i could not take it anymore and i decided to switch sides where i can educate the sellers and make them aware of thing which they might face.

      I will continue on writing and will touch on issues which are faced by sellers once they go on to sell their cars.

      Just for your information, specially the one who want to spend time and look into stuff. I am pasting a link for the GCC standards as per cars which are imported in the country specially by manufacturers. You can check for all parts for standards. Its good to have around. Once again, thank you for landing my on blog and spending your valuable time. Much appreciate it.

  9. Hi

    Your comments are wonderful.
    1. Ford Mustang 2016 or 2017 model – North American Specs.
    Price 50k AED.
    Is Mustang a good car for Dubai?
    and i am going to get a auto loan from the dealer but my concern is if the car has any repairs later i am gonna loose my money a lot. and the car dealer said there cars are good and they will do a RTA inspection and give.
    what should i check?

    2. Dodge Charger 2016 SXR 126000km done and the price is 45k GCC specs.
    Is this a good car for a long term use?

    and how can i make sure car is in perfect condition to buy?

    Appreciate your answers. Thanks in advance

    1. Dear Farsh

      Thank you for the query and my answers are listed below.

      1. Ford Mustang 2016 or 2017 model – North American Specs.
      Price 50k AED.
      Is Mustang a good car for Dubai?
      and i am going to get a auto loan from the dealer but my concern is if the car has any repairs later i am gonna loose my money a lot. and the car dealer said there cars are good and they will do a RTA inspection and give.
      what should i check?
      Justcarprice- All cars are derivable as long as the meet the drive ability test. Most of the mustangs due come in damaged conditions and are repaired here compared to other northern american brands. So you want to be really careful about getting one. If you have made up your mind and want to buy this particular car then you need to take it to a known garage and get a full test done. Check for chassis damage, water damage, paint work and electrical functionality. Chassis damage would be priority 1. All of the single import cars ( Ex showroom cars ) will never have manufacture warranty and this being the older version will in all cases will not have one. So check for damages specailly to the chassis. And yes you will lose money once you go to sell it. And prices do very from versions ( V6/V8 models + Specs ) Since i dont know the version you are buying, i would not be able to state a price here. Any how, for sure get it checked before buying.

      2. Dodge Charger 2016 SXR 126000km done and the price is 45k GCC specs.
      Is this a good car for a long term use?

      Justcarprice- As mentioned for the mustang, same would apply for this car. Almost 90% of the amercian imports here were previously damaged/Salvaged cars. Dealers buy them from insurnces in the USA or from damage lots and bring them into dubai and fix them and resell them to end users. I have seen so many people finding this out when they came to sell to us and its a lot of loss to be in this condition. If you want to buy and keep it till is worth body weight then you can buy them but get the price checked and also the most important aspect, chassis damage. If these cars do show signs of chassis repair and you really want to buy them, then get a very good discount, anyways when the dealer says RTA test cleared. They most probably would take it to one they know and have a good repo with so the inspector would give them some slack on the car and would pass it. its not normal but i have seen it done lots of times ;).

      Conclusion: 1. Get the chassis check for damage and repair. If indicated, either walk away from the car because you will have a hard time selling it to another end user.
      If the car checks out find in all aspect, still get a discount, because in UAE, all car buyers want GCC spec and they sell much better than non GCC spec cars. Best of luck.

      and how can i make sure car is in perfect condition to buy?

  10. Hey sir I just wanted your opinion on something.
    I am in need of a car for uni and I’m on a budget of around 20,000 because it is my first. Parents are going with Mercedes most likely a C class because it’s German and it’s a a strong car. Thing is I found a good one but it has been imported it’s a C230 2005 model with Japanese specs and has 65,000km on it for 18,000dhs. You reckon it’ll hold up for a couple years here? Or will it need a lot of maintenance? Thanks again!

    1. Dear Ahmad,

      First of all best of luck with Uni- and for the question. 18k is still very high for an imported Mercedes even a 2005. Only major issues coming out of Japanese spec cars is water damage. Since they face Tsunami’s and flood related issues on and off, here dealers look for rust under the car and in places where clear visibility is not obvious. Plus you have to keep in mind that here in Dubai at least once a year, it rains heavy and streets around Dubai do get flooded and that for sedans is a nightmare which will limit your drive ability and risk a chance of further damage to your car if it gets stuck on the streets here. The one you are looking at is probably a dealer who poses as a end user. I know about 50 of them in my line of work. Price wise this car is not worth more than 10k max retail.

      However, its your choice but you have to keep in mind repair cost on Mercedes benz is higher than your normal Toyota or Honda brands or even Korean brands such as Kia or Hyundai. If the car passes RTA inspection then its good to go and other factors will be your only issue as mentioned above. If you can limit your driving during flooding and be very cautious, then you shouldn’t worry to much about it. But make sure you get it checked at YOUR known garage and ask them to give you all details about its condition. When i say known meaning big garages, normally they pay good salary and good mechanics are attracted to good salary so you will find a good quality feed back on the condition of your car. Inspection should not cost more than 500 aed. Or you can take it to RTA and get a comprehensive test done for around 300 aed.

      Do some research by going to dubizzle and only enter 20000 in the max field and hit search, it will give you all cars listed 20k and below. So look through and what ever car you see that you like, open it up in a new tab and keep doing it till you have exhausted your search. then do short listing of the cars. Boil it down to 3 options and go with the one you like the most. If i were you, i would not worry too much about the brand of the car, rather condition and drive ability. Best of luck, if you need further guidance, you can write again and i shall reply. Would be more than happy to see you get your first car and enjoy driving it without having more financial issues in regards to fixing it. One thing is for sure, the older they are the prone to issue the car faces.

      Best of luck

  11. Hi,

    I am really interested in the Sn95 Mustangs and I’ve seen so many on Dubizzle lately. They are all Japanese Specs, any advice on what to look out for ?


    1. Hi,

      Seems you are particular about your ride. Sn95 in dubai are rare so yes you may see imported ones around but limited. Only thing you want to verify on this model car is drive ability. If you have already found one, you may want to check for few things. Since these are older cars and to find one that is mint condition would be getting very lucky. No need to go to a garage, you can take it to RTA for comprehensive testing. This test is for your purpose only, this test can not be used to transfer the car. You will need to do a regular test for transfers. Once at RTA, you can ask the inspector to ensure 1. no chassis damage, 2. No oil leaks, 3. Shocks and suspension does not need work. 4 All electrical systems are working. They will do that for you and i think they charge some where between 2 to 3 hundred dirhams. I i was you, i would find chassis for Sn95 and preferable 1994-1996 model, they will be cheaper. Get an engine of your choice “V8” great choice and the rest as you like and get it done in Sharjah to save some money. And then you can be sure all is as per your liking. Best of luck.

      There is not much to look out for, the older models just need to be running. And for the purpose of ownership, that RTA inspectors will check and tell you so you can be sure as to what needs to be done on the car in order for you to get it transferred onto your name. But major aspect would be chassis damage and drive ability, where engine oil leaks or suspension would be the major aspect of that. Best of luck

  12. I’m looking to buy a 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. I found a brand new one for 220,000 AED, but it’s American specs.

    Is this good? Do you think it’s OK to buy for Dubai? Jeep’s are usually good for desert climates are they not?


    1. Dear Tyler,

      You can chose to buy any car you like as its strictly up to the one buying as long as they understand that once they sell it they will lose lots of money eventually. But if you are buying to keep it for a long run and not worry too much about the selling price after several years, then all cars imported “after checking if they were not damage or salvaged” then yes, i don’t see any harm in buying a car other that GCC spec.

      My take is strictly on the resale as per the norms here, if you go out to sell a non gcc car, as i have experienced, the 1st thing people or buyer ask is 1. Is it GCC spec, 2. Are you the first owner, 3. Do you have service history? . So when you say its american spec or non GCC spec, then all i got was ok we will call back. It becomes really hard to sell a non GCC spec car in the UAE. They do sell but at a much lower price and people take advantage of that and say there is risk involved. Secondly, Non GCC spec cars do not come with factory or manufacturers warranty, so if you are buying this jeep, ensure that the 3rd party warranty offered covers all aspect of the car. Call the warranty supplier and ask what is covered and for how long so you are aware of pros and cons of owning a non GCC spec car. Jeeps are fun, and in the USA i myself owned 2 so yes, they would be fun here in the UAE but then again, the risk of loosing money when you go to sell it is higher then the fun on its own.

      If i was asked from a regular salaried persons perspective, then i would put my money on a GCC spec car, at least i would know that the manufacture is offering a warranty and the resale would be sound. But if this concerns is not an issue for you, and prices for the same in GCC spec is much lower, mean way lower then you may take the risk, but keep it for long time so you can maximize your usage and not worry about loosing after 7 or 8 years of usage. Best of luck, and make sure you get its checked by a garage for any damage or salvage history. You can read my other blog on VIN number. Best of luck

  13. Can’t we just look at the speedometer to identify gcc and USA cars?
    I think USA spec cars have odometer shown in miles also, while gcc is with only kilometer, right?

    1. Hi, Vej

      Yes we can but we need to also keep in mind that the odometer can also be replaced as i have seen, so only relying on the odometer would not be sufficient to identify and differentiate between the two. For example, Japanese cars also have Kilometre instead of miles written in the odometer. However, having said that, it also is a good starting point as long as you can look at other key elements as mentioned in my blog in order to identify and GCC spec or a non GCC spec car.

  14. Hello Mr. Khan,
    I was planning to buy a manual Jeep Wrangler sport 2011. This is an American specs, and the seller is asking for 30K here in Dubai.
    I took it for a ride checked the engine and lower parts as far my eye could go and I experienced a death wobble in 5th gear and I found the engine being super hot on driving it for mile or two.
    The fact is I really liked the car, it not lifted no sign of crazy off roading. I’ll really appreciate your advice on this.

    Many thanks.

    1. Dear Junaid,

      American spec with these issues you should not buy at all you will have issues after issues and all the fun will just go away, it may seem nice now but when you start going to the garages you will understand that this buy was a mistake. Look for one that does not need any work and is in drivable condition and then slowly you can modify it.

      If you really want to take the risk then take it to JEEPERS in al quez and have them take a look at it and give you their assessment. If i was you i would not buy it, i just dont like headaches..Go by jeepers and see if they can assist you. Price wise, this as is , is not worth more than 15k max max…you will need to replace the engine for sure, the gear will go soon.

  15. Hi,

    I was planning to buy a USA specs mustang 2016 from UAE and was planning to take it to Saudi ARABIA. I have the following questions if you guys can please clear them out.

    1) is the procedure possible and any idea on thr VAT percentage or any extra fees? I would be very grateful if someone explained the process.
    2) is a USA spec car okay for saudia? as i have heard that due the heat and sand there might be issues with cooling, radiators, filters etc.

    1. Hi,

      As per Saudi arabia import policy, a car older than 5 years is not allowed into the country. Any damage (visible) on the car, would not be allowed into the country.
      Now to anwer your questions:

      1. VAT total is 20% of the value of the car, now this is a bit tricky you will have to estimate market value based on UAE price, because once you reach the boarder. Saudi costumes will make an estimate and charge you on the spot. First you will need to go to RTA here in UAE and get an export paper and you will have to tell RTA which transport company you will use to take the car into saudi arabia or else they will not give you the export paper. RTA will make sure that there is no pending loans on the car or any other liabilities in their system. If there no outstanding amounts on the car here ( banks, fines etc…) then you are good to go. Transport companies charge anywhere between 2k AED to 2.5k AED. And another 1k AED you need to keep for UAE boarder fees and someother minor fees.

      Requirements for exporting cars to Saudi Arabia as follows:
      1. An export certificate from the RTA, should write in this certificate “to be shipped by the name of the shipping company that was agreed upon”.
      2. The recipient’s passport copy with the ID card.
      3. An electronic authorization for the customs clearance agent at the Saudi border (Al-Batha).

      There are lots of transport companies that can do all that for you and help you. You can google them and chose the one that fits your budget. Cheers

  16. well written thank you.

    I am planning to get a used car and came across a Ford F-150 XL Styleside 8 ft. box 163 in. WB 3.5L V-6 Engine. American specs with a milage of 9.6k and is selling for 70k . the car looks in good condition from the pictures but will view it tomorrow. Can you help me with a few questions.

    1 – is this too good to be true?

    2- do you think that the price could be less than this.

    3- what questions should i ask the owner.

    he said that he will provide the VIN after viewing and the car has not been in major accidents .

    would appriciate your comments.


    1. Hi,
      Thank you for the questions. You did not mention the year of the car so i am unable to give you a price. Anyhow, never fully trust someone unless you have done your part of the investigation. American cars mostly not all of them but mostly are either salvaged or have been in an accident ( not salvaged ). There are not many questions you want to ask, but you can verify a few things to ensure that what you are buying is worth the price.
      1. Is the car salvaged
      2. Are all the electrical functions in the car working
      3. No oil leaks under the hood of the truck
      4. google the VIN number and see if any pictures come up. 80% of the time you will the salvaged car there listed in the USA or Canada.

      Best bet for you is to take it to one of the notable car garages. Call them one by one and see if they can do a complete checkup of the truck for salvage, damages, engine issues, AC issues, wiring or suspension or any other issue that may cost you money to fix or repaire. Cars may look good from the outside but may have issues under the hood that can cost a lot to repair. Anything is repairable but is it worth it. Plus keep in mind, that american spec cars are hard to sell, YOU found one but that does not mean you will find someone when you want to sell it, every person i have known who owned one as a user have lost money on it compared to the same if it were GCC. But i guess its all about taste and necessity. You can buy it if thats what you really want, i mean at the end its your money and your enjoyment, and there is no arguing with that.

      So yeah, go look at it, drive it. Listen for unusual sounds. Try on all the buttons and see if the work. Give it a fast drive, make sure you take the truck through all the gears ( means drive it will all the gears have been engaged ) from the start you will be in gear one, then as you drive faster the gears will change, and all the way to the last gear normally would 5th or 6th which you can only do on highway.

      Pay attention when the gears change, if you feel a delay or jerk, thats a bad sign….a very bad sign which may lead to the engine repair or replacement in most cases.

      If you pass all the listed, then final is to tell the seller you want to take it for one last check up, do not give a deposit or any commitment till you get the truck check out from a garage of YOUR CHOICE and not his…best of luck…

      any further advice you can contact me again. thanks and best of luck…

  17. Hi there,
    You have given some excellent insight into GCC vs American specs for vehicles for sale in the used car market.

    I have been toying with the idea of buying a Toyota Tundra for a few months but have always pulled back because of the difference in specs. As you know Tundra is always an American import and can be bought through dealers.

    My concerns are;
    (a) are these dealers trust worthy? Some are selling 2020 models with 0 kms on so I am wondering are these salvaged?
    (b) my motive is to buy this vehicle for off roading. I want an off road truck. I have owned all the Toyota models from FJ to Land Cruisers purely for the desert. Now I want a powerful beast. Whilst I have no doubt in the ability of this vehicle to perform off road effectively, my thoughts reach out to understand how does the difference in specs effect the vehicle in the extreme conditions of the desert coupled with the hot weather?
    (c) Will there be any issue with registration of the vehicle?

    Your advice is much appreciated.


    1. Dear Pavinder,

      Appreciate your message and your concern is valid and you are not the only one who has that feeling. Basically these trucks “imported” ones are either from USA or Canada. And for argument sake, USA models and i am suspecting Canadian as well are made the same. As you know USA has a very diverse climate conditions especially (hot) seasons in Texas and Nevada area ( south west ). These trucks can handle those climates conditions with ease.

      Here in Dubai its a bit hotter but still these trucks can handle it, as i have not seen any one of them melt ( lol ). So that notion about climate conditions are not valid for a tundra (imported from USA) for UAE climate conditions.

      Your other concern is valid. Is it salvaged or not? I have seen one deal where the dealer convinced the seller who had owned one for about 6 months but did not know it was salvaged, so the dealer convinced his to sell or else he will have legal issues blah blah blah. Poor lad, got ripped of by buying a salvaged truck then got ripped off again when he was selling it. He bought it for 110k AED then sold it for 60k AED in six months. We don’t know how much he bought it for! Anyhow, you should pick the one you like, then take it to a private garage and get it fully inspected ( cost around 500aed at most of the garages in al qouz ) go to a well known one, i cant recommend one but there are many. Call Zdegree, they are pretty popular and ask them if they can do a salvage check/accident check/flood check for you. Or if you want to do a little googling yourself. Take the VIN number from the seller and enter only the VIN number into google search and you may get a pic of that truck if it was ever salvaged. What happens is, when a vehicle gets salvaged, the insurance company takes possession and tries to resell it first buy posting it on their website. And they enter in all the details including pics of it (damaged conduction). If you find a tundra on google with the same VIN number chances are that truck you are buying is the same. However, if you really like the truck, then get it inspected from one of the known garages for a full report then proceed as you wish.

      Imported trucks can be registered if no chassis damage is recorded on its body (physically noticeable, note; RTA inspectors can tell). Hope this helps, but be very careful about the salvage issue, most of the american vehicles here have salvage history so getting it checked is the best way forward. Best of luck.

    1. Hi Imad,

      Kia stinger is a personal favorite of mine. I would says, its one of the best choices if you are looking for cost effective power and technology. GCC spec would be a best option for a kia stinger since you will get warranty and service for the car. The 3.3 liter V6, twin turbo engine is a power house. If you see the test results, kia stinger crosses the 60 mile line at the same time as the mustang 5.0 (depending on the driver). So yes go for it and have a blast….

  18. Hey Donnie,

    Well written I must say, a bunch of valuable information to absorb.
    If possible, i’d like your advice on something; Im planning on a buying a used Nissan 370z:
    IF -> (GCC Spec / 2015-2016 / 45,000-55,000 KM Mileage) = AED 56,000
    IF -> (US Spec / 2019 / 20,000 KM Mileage) = AED 64,000
    and i’ve got a few queries:

    1) Would it be smart to get a US spec SPORTS car in the Dubai? Especially considering the fact that I put on approx. 100km/day? (car is going to be out in the sun 24/7 since my residential building has no underground parking and same case at my office.)

    2) Assuming the car title is clean and its not some sort of salvage, would it be advisable to change any parts in the car to help it cope? or would that be unnecessary?

    3) If there is body work done on the car (repair, repaint, in some cases replacement of panels), would you recommend going for the car? and would there be any implications other than resale price?

    I apologize for the bombardment of questions :p

    Thanks my man,
    Much appreciated!

    1. Dear Ahmed,

      Thank you for your questions and i have listed my replies below:

      If possible, i’d like your advice on something; Im planning on a buying a used Nissan 370z:
      IF -> (GCC Spec / 2015-2016 / 45,000-55,000 KM Mileage) = AED 56,000
      IF -> (US Spec / 2019 / 20,000 KM Mileage) = AED 64,000
      and i’ve got a few queries:
      1) Would it be smart to get a US spec SPORTS car in the Dubai?
      A) No worries, people buy them all the time here as long as not faults in the car. If Chassis damage, just stay away from it.

      1.1)Especially considering the fact that I put on approx. 100km/day? (car is going to be out in the sun 24/7 since my residential building has no underground parking and same case at my office.)

      A)100k per day is ok, you can drive both GCC and USA spec even if you are keeping it outside. Paint coating are the same globally. Its ok to buy USA spec car in UAE as long as you do your due diligence. that is you really want to buy it.

      (My advice is that since the body shape is almost the same between 2016 and 2019, you can go for the GCC spec). 2016 dealer price is around 45k to 50k with around 50,000 kilometres. But if you can get it at 50k is great or low 50s’. But if you like it very much then 56k for long term keep is good also.

      2) Assuming the car title is clean and its not some sort of salvage, would it be advisable to change any parts in the car to help it cope? or would that be unnecessary?

      A)Clean title – No need to change anything, if upon purchase all checked out fine. AC is fine and car does not over heat then you will not need to change anything right away, but keep in mind that dealer who import damaged cars tend to install cheap parts for more profitability when repairing them prior to sale.

      3) If there is body work done on the car (repair, repaint, in some cases replacement of panels), would you recommend going for the car?

      A) Yes, as long as no more than 2 panels painted or replaced.

      3.1) and would there be any implications other than resale price?

      A) Depends, there should not be if the car checked out fine upon purchase then its all up to you and how you maintain it. Imported cars which were damaged and repaired are more prone to have issues where replacement of parts are required. Because the dealers when they import them, they use weak and cheap parts to increase profitability.

      Advice for all buyers: Regardless of GCC or USA specs. Due diligence. USA spec cars have more bad rep then GCC cars. For GCC cars check the service history so you know if the previous owners took care of the car or not. USA spec cars, no need to check service history just condition. Specially chassis damage.

      For GCC spec – get it checked for chassis damage, body paint, oil leaks, bad suspension, alternator weakness, electrical work, AC. Negotiate the price accordingly. If possible get 3rd party warranty (company listed below).

      For USA spec – get it checked for chassis specially (google the VIN number a.k.a chassis number, which can be found on the sellers mulkia here in UAE. All other listed under GCC spec should also be checked, cars here also can have the same damage as USA. So its better to get the garage to check it for you for a price.

      Warrenty is offered by Dynatrade
      Wattenty is offered by Zdegree

      Go with the company which offers more for the money.

      If car does not have the issue listed above, then buy it, regardless of GCC or USA spec, just get it priced accordingly by an expert.

      Best of luck, if you think i missed something, you can reply and i will try to clarify it

  19. Hello,
    First of all thank you very much for all the info you’re sharing on here. It’s so valuable and much needed in this market! My question is on importing classics. What’s your take on that? Obvuisukt they’re not GCC specs, mostly European. Would you recommend it? Also, what classics would you recommend that would retain value the most in the UAE?

    Many thanks in advance.

    1. Dear Ali,

      Thank you for your comments and kind words. Classic’s have a place here in UAE but not that popular as you would expect like in other countries. They have a market of their own and can bring good money if you do the research in regards to importing one. My advice would be to create you own private network on social media (Facebook) if you are a supplier. If you are an enthusiast then its better to join local groups on FB and also visit events such as “Emirates Classic Car Festival” Which is held annually Link here. You can interact with people there and make a group of contact which will help you in selling or buying or even restorations.

      Since that happens once a year and will not help at this point. I would start from showrooms that sell classic car’s such as :

      Now, for the most popular classic or to say the most desirable from my experience and perspective is “Porsche”. Specially the “Targa”.

      So, yes you should join FB groups from the get go, then visit these locastions i have listed to get in person experiance. Thank decide which car you want to bring in to the UAE. Importing one will not be an issue, so you can contact customs and provide them inforamtion prior to bringing one here so you can fullfill all thre requirement prior to the import.

      Now, there are few thing to keep in mind. Once of our affiliates has written a blog on how to get one registered in the UAE

      Other then that, best of luck and if anything you can write to me again. cheers

  20. HI have a question if Dubai Customs issue VCC with non GCC standard and
    cannot be registered in UAE . Can this VCC be amended to GCC Standard
    and what are the procedure . Its a Bike .


    1. Dear Siyal,

      Thank you for the query. You have asked “Dubai Customs issue VCC with non GCC standard and cannot be registered in UAE . Can this VCC be amended to GCC Standard and what are the procedure . Its a Bike”, There limited information here to work with.

      However, if you have received a VCC already which would state either (1. non GCC standard, 2. Can not be registered). 1. If this is the only thing written on the VCC then you can still register the bike. 2. If this is also written then unfortunately you can not register car bike in UAE, you will need to re-export it out of UAE. I would have to see the VCC to confirm what exactly can be your next step. You can send it via if needed. Thanks.

  21. Hi Dear,
    I live in UAE. I was planning to buy a range rover sport v6. I found a local car dealer selling a brand new 0km range rover sport canadian specs for about dhs 100k less than the gcc main dealer price in uae. I checked the car the interior, the exterior everything looks perfectly new. The dealer is purchasing and giving me 3 years warranty from a local car service agent which is dynatrade. Can you please guide me what points to look for before buying the car and if it is a good idea to buy the car and use it in uae.

    1. Hi,
      Thank you for coming to the site and asking for an advice. The key points would be here is to check if the odometer is original ( meaning if the 0 Km stated by the dealer is true), which you can do by taking it to one of the independent garages in the UAE by googling it. Best would be to take it directly to Range Rover Service center and get that computer checked. Check to see if which ever one is cheaper and go with it.
      Secondly, you would want to check if the CHASSIS was not damaged and repaired. That also can be done at Range Rover or any independent garages. Thirdly, Check and see if the car painted or not from any accidents that may not have damaged the chassis but still had a damage that was repaired. If any of the points above have been identified to be true, then you should renegotiate.

      Lastly about buying the car at a cheap price would have a negative effect once you do decide to sell it. Mostly people buying a used car always ask if the car is GCC spec or not. I have imported cars from good reseller from Canada and cars were in very good/Mint conditions. But you as a consumer would need to check the above. If all checks out fine then you can go ahead and buy it but keep in mind, sell the car when you have used it for like 6 to 7 years, if you decide to sell it like after 2 years or 3, you will loose a lot because not too many people out there would buy a used imported car. There will be a few but its always a hard time selling them.

      If you do buy it, then keep all the service history( oil changes, etc…anything you do to the car except putting gas by keeping a record) would help in the resale, it will have a some positive effect where the next buyer would be able to see the service history and would be comfortable making the decision. If you ever take your car to the gas station for oil change or any garages, they will put a sticker on the door, have them put that sticker on the service book instead of the door, that way you will have a record of it. Do one thing, go to my site home page and fill out the information and will give you the price for you the car your are buying. So you dont get ripped off but if you think its good and you like the car then ultimately, it will be your choice and your enjoyment, there is no cost to a item that a person likes. Best of Luck

      1. Dear Donnie,
        Thanks a ton for your reply and the precious advice you have shared. The most important thing is that will the car go for 6-7 years without any trouble as it is a canadian spec car? will it resist in the uae temperature? as i have heard canadian specs has lighter radiators and ac compressors. I lived in uae for 27 years and so far i have used only gcc cars. To inform you the price is 290k dhs is it a good price for a 0 km range rover sport v6 black edition. Kindly advice

        1. There is nothing to worry about, the car can last longer if you take care of it. Compressor and radiator are a bit different but you will not notice the difference.AC will work just as good as any GCC spec cars ( first hand experience, Radiator will perform as well as any GCC spec car). Make sure that you check with warranty supplier that the AC/ Radiator is covered. Am sure it will be but just so you can have a peace of mind. The only down fall is the resale and how they devalue over time, as they do drop in price faster than GCC spec. Its just mind set of people here that they prefer GCC spec over Non-GCC spec. That’s just how the market is, i personal would buy one and keep it till it has almost no value left or would attempt to sell it in a condition if it sell then good if it does not then i will keep on driving it. But people who get to a point where they HAVE to sell an imported car then they will for sure loose allot..

          If all checks out fine and you are willing to keep it for a long time and the price is right, then yes go for it.

  22. Hi. Are you sure that radiators are smaller in import cars? Or you assume it to be smaller? Some says ac compressor is even weaker which does not make any sense at all since making a weaker compressor for a 100,000 $ car because it is in europe is not logical at all; saving 50$ on such a big value car. I know that compressors here are around 800 to 2,000 and in size they are so small. What do you think? Like for instance an 5.5 twin turbo V8 AMG e63 S how could the manufacturer increase the size or handling of a radiator where they are actually testing to the limit when producing them and testing them? It is not logical. It is a super car radiator should be super efficient. Cannot beleive that they can make it better?

    1. Dear Sami,

      Hi, These are valid concerns and to an extent i would agree but the key difference here is that as per the GSO (G.C.C Standards Organization) for Conformity Assessment along with ESMA of UAE, They do some rigorous testing before the vehicle is allowed for production in the parent country. The manufacturer sends one unit of a testing model for passing all the GCC requirement. As for the radiator, it is to be manufactured to use WATER as a base coolant “GSO Technical Requirements = GSO/135 of 2007 Motor Vehicles – Methods of Test for Engine Radiator & GSO/136 of 2007 Motor Vehicles – Engine Radiator. Its not a major change, mostly mechanical but manufacturers go ahead and build the radiator to withstand this method which leads to a slightly different model/type of radiator/ sort of similar to when steering wheels are place on either side of the car depending on the country of destination requirements. Another technical requirement which is under the car is the “catalytic converter”, this component is not required for GCC spec car where as certain countries require it. You may find the requirements or standards in the GSO website.

  23. 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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