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.

Russian and Chinese investors in talks about Saudi Aramco IPO involvement

Updated 17 min 50 sec ago

Russian and Chinese investors in talks about Saudi Aramco IPO involvement

  • The initial public offering of the world’s biggest oil company is reaching a critical phase

RIYADH: Russian and Chinese investors are keen to get involved in the international element of the forthcoming initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, according to Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

Dmitriev told Arab News: “I would say that some Russian investors are interested. For the sovereign wealth fund (RDIF) to get invest in the Aramco IPO is still under discussion. We also have our Russia-China Investment Fund, and we have interest from Chinese investors to get involved in the Aramco IPO. We are still in discussion with our Chinese partners, and with our Russian investors.

“We are thinking what would be the different opportunities, given the interests of China and given the interest of some of the Russian investors. We will have to see how some of the details go, and nothing has been finalized, but there is definitely interest from some Russian and Chinese investors,” Dmitriev added.

The IPO of the world’s biggest oil company is reaching a critical phase, with some observers expecting the formal announcement of a listing on Tadawul just days away. Having a foreign sovereign investor, as well as a listing on a foreign stock exchange, could be a part of the later strategy to sell around 5 per cent of the state-owned company to private investors.

Dmitriev was speaking on the sidelines of the Saudi Russia CEO Forum in Riyadh, a meeting of top businessmen for both countries to coincide with the visit of President Putin.