Rolls Royce Cullinan’s SUV arrives in the Middle East

The Cullinan — unveiled in May — is Rolls-Royce's first SUV. Courtesy of Rolls-Royce
Updated 04 June 2018

Rolls Royce Cullinan’s SUV arrives in the Middle East

  • Iconic British carmaker's first SUV to go on general sale in September
  • More than 100 vehicles ordered from Abu Dhabi dealership

DUBAI: The Arabian Gulf luxury car market is set for a major boost when the first Cullinan — the state-of-the-art SUV from Rolls-Royce — appears in regional dealerships later this year.
Middle East deliveries of the all-terrain vehicle, which will sell for around 2.2m riyals ($586,667) — depending on the level of customization the customer wants — are set to begin in September, but already there is a healthy forward market for the one of the glitziest 4x4s on the market.
The car was publicly unveiled at an event in the showrooms of Abu Dhabi Motors in the UAE capital on Sunday, following recent private viewings — and order placings — in Saudi Arabia. Joseph Tayar, brand manager for the German-owned but British-built car said that the early order book had been “phenomenal.”
He estimated that more than 100 vehicles had already been ordered in Abu Dhabi, and that the vast majority of those were “premium” cars with the full range of customized extras.
“People have been on the waiting list for the Cullinan for the past 18 months, and they are going to want everything Rolls-Royce can give them in terms of luxury and sophistication,” he said.
In Saudi Arabia, the car has already been viewed privately in Riyadh and Jeddah, with a third unveiling scheduled for Al-Khobar later this month.
Allan Gall, the Rolls-Royce brand manager at the Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors dealership in Jeddah, declined to give specific order numbers, but he said: “There is a general excitement about a four-wheel drive Rolls-Royce. People have been waiting a long time for this car to arrive.
“It has been a very good introduction for us. Many orders have been taken at the private events in Saudi Arabia and customers are going for the premium end,” he added.
Rolls-Royce’s German owner BMW expects big sales for the Cullinan in the Middle East — a traditionally strong market for the luxury brand — and is mounting a big marketing push in the region.
Abu Dhabi’s Rolls-Royce dealership has been the brand’s best performer worldwide in three of the past four years, coming in ahead of key global luxury markets such as Beijing, London and Los Angeles.
Ruling families and business leaders across the Gulf have traditionally regarded Rolls-Royce cars as the ultimate luxury, valuing their quality engineering in the region’s demanding road conditions and climate
T.E. Lawrence, the British World War I officer sometimes known as Lawrence of Arabia, said: “A Rolls in the desert is above rubies,” after he used a fleet of armored Rolls-Royce cars in desert campaigns.
Launching the car in May, Torsten Muller-Otvos, Rolls-Royce’s chief executive, said: “Luxury is no longer an urban concept. More and more it is about embracing and experiencing the wider world. Our customers expect to go everywhere in luxury.”
The Cullinan — named after the world’s largest diamond — is Rolls-Royce’s first foray into the fast-growing but highly competitive SUV market, in which rivals Bentley and Porsche have upped the stakes with their Bentayga and Macan models. Aston Martin plans to launch an SUV, the Varekai, next year.


S&P downgrades trio of Dubai developers as pandemic hits property and retail

Updated 52 min 8 sec ago

S&P downgrades trio of Dubai developers as pandemic hits property and retail

  • Gulf states are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic that has come at a time of weak oil prices

RIYADH: The credit ratings of three Dubai property companies were downgraded by S&P as the coronavirus pandemic hits confidence in the retail and real estate sectors.
S&P Global Ratings reduced the credit ratings for the real estate developer Emaar Properties as well as Emaar Malls to +BB from -BBB with a negative forward outlook, adding that it sees a “weakening across all its business segments” in 2020. S&P also cut its rating for DIFC Investments to +BB from -BBB, while keeping a stable outlook.
Gulf states are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic that has come at a time of weak oil prices, heaping pressure on governments, companies and employees.
The ratings agency expects the emirate’s economy to shrink by 11 percent this year
“The supply-demand imbalance in the realty sector appears to have been exacerbated by the pandemic. We now expect to see international demand for Dubai’s property to be subdued, and the fall in residential prices to be steeper than we had expected, lingering well into 2021” S&P reported.
Despite easing restrictions and the opening of the economy, S&P said that overall macroeconomic conditions remained challenging.
Global travel restrictions and social distancing constraints “significantly weigh on Dubai’s tourism and hospitality sectors” the rating agency reported.
Still, Dubai’s tourism chief was upbeat on the emirate’s prospects when international tourism resumes.
“Once we do get to the other side, as we start to talk about next year and later on, we see very much a quick uptick. Because once things normalize, people will go back to travel again,” Helal Al-Marri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing told AFP in an interview.