For expats who come into Qatar for a limited period of time, a car is not a luxury, it's a necessity. However, the first question they face is whether to buy or rent a car for the period of their stay. Both options come with their share of pros and cons, and eventually it boils down to a personal choice driven by various factor.
Buying, of course, is considered the more conventional option of the two. Whether purchasing a new car or a used one, ownership of an asset always gives one a sense of pride and satisfaction. It becomes a personal statement, especially when it is a car.
Other benefits of owning a car include having the freedom to customise it depending on one's taste and requirements, the ability to sell it if and when the need arises and earn some money in the process, and not being answerable to anybody else for anything that happens to the vehicle, etc.
There are, however, some shortcomings as well. Primary of these is loan repayment. While loans are generally easily available if a customer fulfils the criteria, they need to taken carefully - particularly big ones needed to buy luxury and performance cars - after considering all eventualities and backup plans.
The numerous expenses that one has to incur to keep a car in running condition can also be a deterrent for some potential customers. Insurance and accident-related expenses only add to the costs.
Renting or leasing, on the other hand, is a trend that is fast emerging as a "convenient" alternative to buying a car. Many options are available, in terms of agencies as well as models, and people can enjoy driving a car without having to bother about loans and other burdens such as insurance and servicing.
Flexibility in payment options are available and customers can benefit from good deals particularly when they go for long-term agreements with car rental firms.
On the flip side, renting a car does not give users the freedom to do things - such as modifications - that they will otherwise do if they own the vehicles. Besides, some may always feel that they are answerable to others (the agency) for everything that happens to the car, and this may rob him or her of the joy of driving. Another drawback is that the monthly cost of hiring a car is mostly higher than the EMI required for that model.
So, which is the right option? Both, depending on what the customer is looking for.
First, if you are an expatriate, decide how long you plan to stay in the country. A lot depends on this as a loan involves a longer commitment than a lease deal. If you are in for the long haul, then buying can be the better option. If not, then renting may be more convenient.
Second, compare deals available at car dealers and rental agencies and see which one suits you the most. Plan carefully while taking a loan, particularly while buying an expensive car, keeping all eventualities in mind and ensuring that you have a backup plan that will help you tide over any problem or financial challenge. Be clear about your priorities and decide accordingly.
The decision may also depend on your status - if you are in Qatar with your family or staying single. Requirements change significantly depending on this factor. While there is generally no headache involved in buying cars as dealers are reputable companies with years of experience, renting a car can be tricky as there are scores of agencies and not all may provide high-quality service. So, assess the different options properly and then arrive at a decision.
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