The Middle East has bespoken
We all know there's a lot of cash floating around the Middle East, and we all know that a lot of this cash goes on cars. Fast cars. Flash cars. Sometimes, even ugly cars. It doesn't come as a surprise then, that carmakers are cashing in on this.
We start with Rolls Royce, who has just released two Abu Dhabi-inspired special editions of its Phantom range. The first, a four-door Phantom, is inspired by the landscape of Baynunah, which is known for its sand dunes.
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External features include a tan leather roof, 21-inch seven-spoke wheels and the obligatory gold-plated hood ornament. Inside, Rolls Royce has drawn inspiration from 'the vibrant colours of an Arabian camel harness'.
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The second is called the Phantom Coupe Shaheen, and focuses on the art of falconry, apparently. This is evident inside the cabin especially, where the red headrests and dashboard are adorned with a falcon head motif.
On the outside, things are much more subtle, well, as subtle as a Roller can be. The Shaheen is finished in Orchid Pearl and has a pair of red pinstripes running the length of the body.
[caption id="attachment_2254" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Spot the falcon"][/caption]
Prices for these limited editions haven't been revealed, but base models sell in Abu Dhabi for the equivalent of around £250,000.
Bentley is the other luxury carmaker that has recently ventured into the Middle East. But it's not without its reasons:
'The Middle East market now represents 10 per cent of Bentley retail sales globally and has doubled its contribution to the worldwide percentage of sales over the last five years. This trend has continued despite the recent global recession' read a recent press release.
Bentley's attempts are aptly titled the Bentley Continental Flying Spur Arabia and the Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed Arabia:
The cars, of which only 50 will be made, feature Arabia motifs on the front fender badge, tread plate and ashtray lid badge. Unique wheels are also offered: the Speed version gets silver 10-spoke 20-inch wheels; the 'standard' model sits on 14-spoke diamond alloy wheels.
Though the engines remain untouched, Bentley has gone the extra mile to satisfy customers, with veneered picnic tables, chrome inlay strips to the door waistrails, deep-pile carpet mats, chrome Bentley-etched fuel cap and of course, an iPod interface.
While these two companies see the Middle East as an 'emerging market' for its cars, Ferrari sees it as an opportunity to
sell out promote its exploding expanding vehicle range by creating the world's largest indoor theme park.
[caption id="attachment_2291" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Subtle "][/caption]
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi will feature, among other things, the worlds fastest rollercoaster, a foam F1 car and a waterless car-wash.
Whatever happened to hats and pens?