AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Two U.S.-based advocacy groups, The Iran Watch List and United Against a Nuclear Iran, launched a campaign against the Tehran regime in Iran when they found that the Iranian auto industry, the 13th largest in the world, is overrun by both members of the Iranian regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
In the world of ultra-exclusive Italian sports cars, the Maserati GranTurismo S MC Sport Line is rarer than most. Only 12 examples were made, all of which were pearl white and were to be sold only in the Middle East.
The reason why only twelve exist was to commemorate the number of titles Maserati has won in the FIA GT Championship. It also happens to be the exact number of Maserati dealerships in this oil-rich region.
Now it seems that one of the owners decided to have his repainted matte-red and has produced a video celebrating his V8 powered beast. The video is shot in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), and is tastefully done. If you like videos where the exhaust note does most of the talking, you’ll enjoy the video below.
Following an investment from Abu Dhabi Motors, BMW has opened its largest showroom in the world in the Middle East.
In 2011, BMW had its greatest sales year ever in the Middle East, recording more than 18,000 BMWs and Minis sold. What better way to celebrate the good year than with the opening of a huge showroom.
The showroom will permanently display 70 cars, and 10 motorcycles for existing and potential customers to view. Also on display will be the latest and greatest models from BMW, Rolls-Royce, and Mini.
More than 450 staff members will work at the dealership selling cars, as well as a significant service area that is capable of servicing 120 vehicles at the same time.
The top selling vehicle in the region? The 7-series of course, accounting for 24% of total sales. Other popular vehicles were the 5 series (23%) and X6 (14%)
BMW is happy with the commitment from the region saying “The investment in this impressive and unique facility that makes the world’s biggest BMW Group showroom, is testament to the continued opportunities that lie ahead in Abu Dhabi and in the region”
GALLERY: Abu Dhabi BMW Dealership
It turns out that owning a Rolls-Royce isn’t rare enough on it’s own for the majority of people buying these ultra-luxury cars.
No, the people willing and able to shell out for the best of the best seem to be afraid the valet will confuse their Ghost with the others outside the country club. According to the company, 56 percent of Rolls-Royce Ghosts and Ghost Extended Wheel Base Models featured a bespoke design in 2011.
The Ghost is actually a late-comer to the bespoke game as far as the Rolls-Royce family is concerned. The company sells a healthy chunk of their cars to the Middle East, where 99 percent of Phantoms sold featured bespoke designs.
“It is always our goal to exceed our clients’ highest expectations and fulfill their innermost desires,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Rolls-Royce CEO. “With highly bespoke Phantom and Ghost models, we are able to achieve this. The passion with which our bespoke craftspeople create these beautiful cars is reflected in some truly outstanding examples delivered across the globe last year.”
The company is on an upwardly bespoke trend: demand increased an average of almost 35 percent over the last six years worldwide. North America actually represents the most rapidly increasing demand, increasing 54 percent over that time period, though the Middle East is the highest overall with 99 percent demand for bespoke vehicles.
So what’s all this fuss about? Well, Rolls-Royce makes it their business to bend over backwards to ensure client satisfaction. Your new Rolls can come with paint of your choice, tread plates, champagne sets or even a picnic set for those balmy Sunday afternoons in the park.
GALLERY: 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost
Americans aren’t the only ones who love bigger cars, it turns out people in the Middle East do too.
At least that’s the way it seems to us after learning that the American version of the Volkswagen Passat will premier at the 2012 Qatar Motor Show. As is often the case with German cars, there is a European and U.S. version sold in their respective regions. Generally the American version is a bit bulkier in keeping with our larger interests.
The base features are more-or-less the same, though it looks like the expatriated Passat which is assembled in the U.S. will come with a standard touch screen. Otherwise, the same five-cylinder 170 horsepower engine, 16-inch wheels and standard trim are intact. ABS and ESP are also both standard.
The truth is, the 2012 Passat really does approach luxury status. The longer American wheel base will do a good job of offering comfort for rear passengers and retaining the high-end feel German cars are known for. Volkswagen hopes that by offering the more spacious version they will attract a combination of business and private consumers, though there isn’t any word on the SEL V6 model we reviewed being included.
GALLERY: 2012 Passat SEL V6
Rolls Royce Motor Cars has experienced tremendous success, enjoying a record half-year in 2011. The British automaker has seen an increase of sales by 64 percent worldwide, compared to the same period in 2010. Within the first six months of 2011, 1592 cars have been delivered to customers, and there is continued strong demand for both the Phantom and Ghost.
Rolls Royce is experiencing growth in all regions, but there is a particularly strong demand in Asia, with sales up over 170 percent. Sales are also growing in the Middle East, up by over 40 percent and the US is also growing by a similar amount. There has also been an increase in Europe with German sales up by 60 percent.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, “This is an excellent half-year result and demonstrates the confidence that our customers have in our company and our products. The first six months of the year have also seen Rolls-Royce celebrate our unique heritage, with the centenary of the Spirit of Ecstasy, and demonstrate our innovation, with the Phantom Experimental Electric, 102EX. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars continues to operate as the world’s foremost ultra luxury car manufacturer.”
General Motors has long had a major presence in middle eastern markets, particularly in Gulf countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where it has sold large numbers of its American sedans (particularly full sized ones) like the Chevy Impala and Caprice, but with slight equipment differences.
However, there’s also a large percentage of sports car buyers in this part of the world, with the Corvette ranking is one of the more high profile offerings.
Recently, Chevrolet introduced updated variants of the Corvette for Middle Eastern consumption, changes include a Grand Sport model with the dual mode exhaust system as standard (it’s optional on the base car in this region), along with two new paint colors (Orange and Supersonic Blue), with contrasting headlamp pockets, plus an upgraded stereo, new wheel options and Goodyear Eagle F1 Super Car GEN2 tires.
The 2008 Lamborghini Reventon is a very rare car. Only 20 were ever produced, so finding one for sale is not the easiest thing in the world. Finding one that has no mileage is even harder, but we have.
With performance specs like 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 211 mph, it is hard to imagine anyone not be tempted to take this 650-hp, Murcielago-derived supercar on a drive and play with its fighter jet inspired instrumentation. However, an owner in Dubai, U.A.E. has done just that. He mustn’t have been crazy about his new car – or maybe he was just crazy, because his unused Reventon is listed on sale at a used exotic car dealership.
After speaking with a representative for the dealer (yes we make long-distance calls to serve you better), we found out that the car still has just delivery mileage on it and the car can be yours if you have a spare $1.5-million at your disposal.
While most of us won’t be able to own a Reventon, follow the link to see more pics and details to help you daydream better.
[Source: Alain Class]
According to statistics, today Americans are using approximately 8 percent less fuel to power their cars than they did in 2006, which is recognized as the peak for U.S. oil consumption.
However, Americans still remain the number one consumer of oil of the planet, gobbling up 8.2 million barrels of the black gold each day. According to experts in the oil industry and in government, future forecasting predicts gasoline consumption will continue to drop, by as much as 20 percent in the next two decades, even as an estimated 27 million vehicles join the roads. Some of the reasons cited include less driving by baby boomers and more and more fuel efficient cars augmenting the existing vehicle fleet in North America.
However, there are those who predict that increased consumption from countries like China and India, as well as parts of the Middle East, will negate a lot of that decrease, so overall global demand for oil is likely to remain much the same, at least during the coming decade.
[Source: The Associated Press]
General Motors’ Opel division is set to expand outside of Europe with its establishment in Chile and Israel. Reports say that GM has inked a deal with an independent distributor to sell Opel vehicles in Israel, independent of GM’s vehicle distribution channel in the country.
Despite selling Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Isuzu, through one channel, Opel will be sold through its own network perhaps because of Opel’s premium positioning.
Meanwhile, Opel will launch in Chile as brand makes a foray into Latin America. Chile is South America’s most prosperous economies and avoids the high taxes that neighbouring Brazil places on cars. Michael Klaus, the executive director of Opel international operations, told the AP that “German automotive engineering has a high appeal in South America and we are glad to start with Chile.”
[Source: Sympatico Autos]
So clearly drifting has swept America by storm, skipping all the way across the ocean from Japan. And now it’s influencing other forms of motorsports out in the Middle East. But there is something interesting about what they’re trying to do: it’s not quite the drifting that we’re used to seeing, nor is it quite autocross the way we’re used to seeing. What they intentionally end up doing is setting up what would appear to be an autocross track, dousing it with water for a slick surface and promoting the drivers to do a controlled, out-of-control, lap around the course.
The first dead giveaway that this isn’t drifting as we’re used to seeing is the everyday vehicles lining up to compete on the course, much like autocross fashion. Then seeing a large collection of AWD cars like Mitsubishi‘s Evolution and Subaru’s WRX.
SSK Racing out in the Middle East is promoting the series as Drift Art.
We’re going to safely assume that it’s rather difficult to hold a sanctioned drift event out in the Middle East with actual tandem battles. Instead this format can reach out to the grassroots level racers and let them have an event filled with fun and the opportunity to do what we all wish we could do with our cars on a daily basis. We can’t wait to see what they have in store and how they’ll take this to the next level. But please, someone needs to let them know that it’s “professional,” not profissional.
Make sure to check out the video after the break.
[Source: Crank and Piston]