Some cities have a litter problem, some suffer from high crime rates and others might have a lack of affordable housing. And then you have Dubai, which for the last several years has been facing the unusual problem of high end sports cars being abandoned and left to gather thick layers of dust at airport car parks and on the roadside across the city.
If you’ve ever been to Dubai or anywhere in the United Arab Emirates, you will have noticed they have a serious car culture out there, with a particular preference for the latest and greatest in high-end super cars. But like the rest of the world, Dubai has fallen on hard times. Once the hub of the oil economy and the centre of a booming property market, foreigners, mostly British, invested in the red hot market. Newly wealthy ex-pats bought the lastest Italian and German sports cars to compliment their millionaire lifestyles– and then the global economic crisis came along and burst everybody’s bubble.
Thousands of the finest automobiles ever made are now being abandoned every year since Dubai’s financial meltdown, left by expatriates and locals alike who flee in a hurry because they face crippling debts. With big loans to repay to the banks (unpaid debt or even bouncing a cheque is a criminal offence in Dubai), the panicked car owners make their way to the airport at top speeds and leave their vehicles in the car park, hopping on the next flight out of there, never to return.
Ferraris, Porsches, BMWs, Mercedes are regularly abandoned at the car park of Dubai International Airport, some with loan documents and apology notes simply left on the windscreen and in some cases with the keys still in the ignition.
Last year, a Ferrari Enzo, one of only four hundred manufactured, was seized by police having spent several months in a car park collecting dust. The million dollar motor went on sale at auction alongside other Ferraris, Porsches, Range Rovers and Mercedes plucked from the roadside. Residents complain about the unsightly vehicles hogging parking spaces at the airport and sitting slumped outside their fancy yacht clubs– it’s like, so not a good look. On the plus side, discount Ferraris for everyone!