Abandoned in the Desert: The Vehicle Jilting Phenomenon in Dubai

Abandoned Ferrari Enzo 1 photo
When you think about Dubai, whether you’ve had the pleasure of visiting or not, you often think of the absurd self-indulgence mentality of a city dedicated entirely to excess and overconsumption.
Between giant buildings, artificial islands and ski slopes, under the crushing sun of the Arabian Peninsula, there’s usually little room for even more absurd behaviors or actions.

Abandoned luxury and supercars on the streets or in airports are not rumors, as the phenomenon was recognized by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and some kind of measures are to be taken to solve this kind of situation in the future.

Despite the meteoric rise experienced over the last 20 years, the largest city in the UAE has also experienced some financial setbacks not long ago. So most of these car abandonments have taken place because of the financial and real estate crisis that hit foreigners after moving their businesses there.

The term foreigners is a bit unfair, because out of over 3 million registered residents in Dubai, only around 15% are native inhabitants, and they are not the ones who sentence their cars to this slow and painful – to watch - death.

So why do some people leave the likes of Ferraris, Jaguars or Porches abandoned on the streets? Surely it’s not to attract attention, as Dubai is packed with the latest and greatest models from the automotive industry. If elsewhere owning a Mercedes says something about your social status, in Dubai, it’s the most common car on the streets.

Moreover, some of the owners of these abandoned supercars aren’t even known, and it doesn't make any sense to leave them stranded in a parking lot to gather sand in every possible gasket just for the sake of attention. I suppose nobody is that shallow.

In many cases, when an individual no longer has enough capital to cover his debts, he quickly leaves the country to avoid prison. You do go in prison for such things, they don’t joke around when it comes to money in the Emirates, as any unpaid debts or even bad checks are criminal offenses punishable by imprisonment.

While trying to sell your assets to pay off your debts is surely a good idea, it also takes a considerable amount of time, so it's easier to just get out of the way, as many did, leaving us drooling over luxury abandoned cars.

A few years ago, a Ferrari Enzo valued at over one million dollars was left behind by an ex-pat who also left his house, his job, basically his entire life’s work. Again, an ENZO! There were only 399 units produced, and one is getting eaten by sand in Dubai even today. Yes, while the fact that the model has been taken away from the scorching sun and moved to a warehouse is true, I doubt that the car had some exterior detailing or coating done to it.

You could also say that the last economic crisis took place over ten years ago in Dubai, but try to keep in mind that this particular city does not function in the conventional way that we’ve been used to. As an article from Forbes stated earlier this year, Dubai is slowly becoming a “money laundering paradise”, as the city quickly built on the reputation of being a pre-eminent business hub, and not always legal ones.

People are coming and leaving constantly, raising the bar in every domain, be them restaurants, spas or hotels. Where there’s money, there’s also competition, and where there’s competition there will always be the “less fortunate” that will run out of business or go bankrupt. So many in fact, that thousands of cars are abandoned according to Gulf News.

Every major city has its flaws. If in New York you have to fight against traffic, and in Gotham, you have to fight against crime, in Dubai, you have to battle with the disuse of luxury vehicles.
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