UAE on luxury cars speed drive

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Aston Martin V12 Zagato on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2011

With the Middle East predicted to witness unprecedented growth within the luxury car segment over the next five years, luxury car manufacturers like Audi, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin are set to showcase their most dazzling models at this year’s Dubai International Motor Show.

The new Aston Martin V12 Zagato will be appearing at the Dubai International Motor Show along with a stunning selection of contemporary Aston Martin including the four-door Rapide, new Virage Volante, DBS Coupe and V8 Vantage S Coupe, forming the marque?s largest presence at the show to date.

Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi?s ruling family, is one of the reasons why the Persian Gulf region has become a hot market for luxury cars, even as political turmoil grips other parts of the Middle East.

Sheikh Hamad, known as the Rainbow Sheikh for his penchant for bright colors, exemplifies the region?s automotive excess.

With demand stoked by profits from oil prices near $100 a barrel, wealthy Arabs are set to buy a record number of vehicles from the likes of BMW?s Rolls-Royce, Fiat?s Maserati and Porsche SE this year.

Buying luxury cars in the Gulf is ?an extension of the ego,? said Pierluigi Bellini, associate director of Middle East research at IHS Automotive in Milan. Wealthy consumers like ?showing off? more than Europeans and Americans, he said.

According to IHS Automotive,?figures released by the leading luxury car manufacturers indicate that sales of luxury cars in the Middle East are expected to increase by 20% this year – the highest level ever and more than double the 9.7 percent growth that the Middle East luxury segment experienced last year. It is also predicted that, if the pattern continues, the Middle East luxury car segment will double over the 2010-2015?period positioning the region as a global leader within this lucrative market.

UAE remains the biggest market in the region for the leading luxury car manufacturer, making Dubai International Motor Show an important showcase for its premium models. For Japanese car firms, the lightening could not have struck at a worse time. With a stalled home market, the Japanese brands are already struggling to hang on to market share in Europe. As the price of petrol soars, fuel-sipping Japanese cars would normally zoom past rivals, but drivers won?t buy what the makers don?t make.

Sources ?, Economist and Bloomberg

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