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Clean fuels a hit at Dubai International Motor Show

DUBAI: New technology and alternative fuels were the stars of this year’s Dubai International Motor Show (DIMS).
The five-day event at the Dubai International Convention Centre has become the region’s most significant car show since its beginnings in 1991 and this year attracted more than 108,000 visitors.
There were more than 100 global and regional car premieres among the 550 cars on display.
Unlike at Frankfurt, no major company abstained from DIMS. Topping the luxury league was Rolls-Royce’s new Phantom, available to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) customers by the end of the year.
Bentley also revealed its Continental GT with a promising new design. The GT will be reviewed by international media, including Arab News, at the end of this month in Barcelona.
A high percentage of cars on display at the Dubai show are luxury and sports vehicles. This is reflected in the sales figures for a region that has the largest showrooms in the world for some of the brands on offer.
Despite political tension in the region, sales figures are steady, albeit at lower rates in some segments than last year’s. Unlike most motor shows, DIMS serves as a platform for sales to customers and most franchises participate through their local dealers.

<b>SUV segment
Of particular importance to the region is the 4x4 and SUV market, which enjoys higher rates of growth despite fierce competition.
Ford led the charge this year with the new full-size SUV Expedition, favored by GCC customers for its interior space and pulling power. Alongside this were other popular Ford SUVs such as Explorer, Edge, Escape and EcoSport.
Lincoln revealed its Navigator, a premium SUV favored by many in the region. The Navigator attracted attention this year with a new design, a 450bhp bi turbo engine and a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and Jeep also displayed large collections of all-terrain vehicles, especially for desert safari trips. At the top end of the segment were Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne; both best-sellers for their respective companies.

<b>Alternative fuels
The display of electric and alternative-fuel cars was noticeable at this year’s DIMS — a major shift from previous shows. It seems the region is mature enough to consider alternative fuels regardless of the affordability of gasoline compared to world markets.
Toyota revealed its new Mirai, which uses hydrogen fuel cells and is the first production car in the world to use this technology. The hybrid Prius was also on display.
Tesla was in Dubai to attract more customers for its Model S and Model X. The company opened its first showroom in Dubai last summer and has a small base of keen customers. The UAE is installing charging points at a steady rate, which will reach 50 stations by the end of the year.
Several other manufacturers revealed hybrid and electric cars, including the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid from Porsche and several models from Lexus.
Hyundai offered the practical Ioniq Electric car while Kia revealed a Hybrid SUV called Niro.
Other technologies being shown off included the Audi A8, with level-3 autonomous driving, and the BMW 7 Series, which can be maneuvered in and out of garages or tight spaces without anyone at the wheel. Mercedes-Benz revealed the “AMG-GT Concept” and “AMG Project 1,” both futuristic design ideas.
Range Rover revealed its Range Rover Sport for the first time in the region. It carries the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system on two 10-inch touchscreens, which form the centerpiece in a minimalist dashboard. Jaguar displayed its Formula E race car, and will join other big carmakers in a new all-electric car racing competition next year.

<b>Key facts about the Dubai International Motor Show
The Dubai International Motor Show (DIMS) is held biannually in tangent with the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). The show started in 1991 and built its reputation over the following 16 years.

• Now in its 14th year, DIMS is the largest international automotive event across the Middle East and North Africa
• This year the show displayed more than 550 new cars, of which about 100 were new reveals
• The show had 15 supercars and 10 concept cars on display this year
• More than 108,000 visitors from 70 countries, in addition to 1,000 global media representatives,  visited the show this year
• The show was held on 85,000 square meters of space and featured more than 100 manufacturers


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