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Automotive news

GMC marks Yukon’s 25th anniversary with limited-edition model in the Middle East

The GMC Yukon family of full-size SUVs has been expanded in the Middle East with the launch of a special-edition Yukon to commemorate the model’s 25th anniversary. Offered exclusively on the SLE and SLT model range marked with an exclusive 25th Anniversary badge, the limited-edition 2018 GMC Yukon features a chrome-trimmed premium, personalized appearance with bright chrome accents and body side moldings, including chrome mirror caps, chrome accessory grille inserts, chrome door-handles in addition to polished chrome exhaust tip, chrome tow hooks and 20- or 22-inch polished aluminum wheels.

The Yukon Denali has been upgraded in 2018 with a new dimensional front grille as well as a new 10-speed automatic transmission designed to make the most of the engine’s horsepower and torque to optimize the overall performance and efficiency of the SUV. Providing the capability, refinement, safety, performance and connectivity that discerning customers expect, the 2018 GMC Yukon, Yukon XL, Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali also feature a new tire fill alert as part of the tire pressure monitor; and are available in new exterior body color.

Sajed Sbeih, Head of Brand, GMC Middle East, said, “It brings us immense pleasure to be celebrating the silver jubilee of our flagship premium full-size SUV, Yukon, with our loyal customers in the Middle East. While the Yukon distinguishes itself with bold design styling, a precision-crafted interior and even more standard features, we have a great opportunity to show GMC fans our deep appreciation by presenting an exclusive series of 25 special-edition Yukon SLE and SLT models. Furthermore, the Denali line up of our premium SUV remains at the top of the Yukon range and has been upgraded even further in 2018, confirming the professional grade of our luxurious SUVs.”

Yukon SLE and SLT models are powered by advanced EcoTec3 engines that deliver more horsepower and torque with one of the segment’s best V-8 fuel economy. EPA-estimated highway fuel economy is 10.4L/100km with the standard 5.3L engine (2WD models). On the other hand, Yukon Denali’s exclusive 6.2L engine makes the most power in the segment – 420 horsepower and 624 Nm of torque. It is matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission that further enhances efficiency and refinement.

Inside and out, bold styling advances GMC’s professional grade credentials with elements precision-executed for beauty and function. Yukon’s more aerodynamic exterior also improves highway efficiency and contributes to its quiet ride. The Yukon lineup delivers greater capability and greater refinement through enhanced chassis and suspension systems. A fully boxed frame – composed of more than 75 percent high strength steel – supports a quiet and controlled ride.

Projector-beam headlamps are standard on Yukon and Yukon XL. The distinctive Denali models are instantly identifiable by their signature chrome grille and unique exterior appointments, including exclusive high-intensity discharge headlamps.

Inside, the Yukon’s precisely crafted interior features a quiet cabin, authentic materials and premium infotainment choices. Examples of attention to detail include a soft-touch instrument panel, console and door panel materials with French seam stitching and purposeful use of ambient lighting. Denali models feature active noise cancelation technology to make the interior quieter.

Additionally, phone integration technology enhances connectivity and promotes safer driving through Yukon’s IntelliLink system. The technology allows smartphone users to connect with applications such as navigation, hands-free text messaging and entertainment through the IntelliLink display screen.

For Yukon models equipped with the available rear seat entertainment system, the 2018 model year brings a number of modifications and improvements to the connectivity. In addition, rear passenger tablet users get USB port that support 2.1 amp charging atop the already existing USB and 220V AC power outlets.

Yukon models are equipped with standard and available driver-alert technologies that add layers of crash-avoidance protection, as well as enhanced occupant protection in the event a crash occurs. They include an Enhanced Driver Alert Package, a forward radar system and the segment’s only Front Center Air Bag, providing added protection for both front occupants in side impacts.

When activated, the available Enhanced Driver Alert Package which includes Lane Keep Assist, gently steers the vehicle back into its lane when it detects the driver is inadvertently leaving the intended lane of travel. The package also includes IntelliBeam headlamp technology, which automatically turns on and off the vehicle’s high-beam headlamps according to surrounding traffic conditions.

Along with driver alert features, standard chassis control crash-avoidance technologies include GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology, trailer sway control, hill-start assist and four-wheel, four-channel anti-lock brakes.

Available active safety features use camera, radar and ultrasonic sensors to help avoid crashes. Yukon includes the GM-patented Safety Alert Seat that vibrates if the system determines the driver is at risk of colliding with another vehicle. A rear vision camera is also standard, designed to show the area immediately behind the vehicle in the audio system screen.

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Lifestyle Events

CASIO kicks off with G-SHOCK’s 35th Anniversary MENA Tour in UAE

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CASIO to convey ‘real toughness’ in shock-resistant timepieces to young Arab consumers and brand fans

Globally, Casio is celebrating the 35th anniversary of G-SHOCK brand that was first introduced in Japan back in 1983 and since then relentlessly delivered real toughness to G-Shock enthusiasts around the world. In commemoration, Casio Middle East had kicked-off with a long road-show style tour in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) covering major Arab countries starting from the UAE as a kick-off market. From the Emirates, the tour will make a stop in other markets in the GCC, Levant, and North Africa to highlight the ‘’real toughness’’ of shock-resistant timepieces to all young Arabs, and to G-Shock fans and enthusiasts.

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Top executives from Casio Middle East and Casio Japan, led by Managing Director Koji Naka, graced the kick-off celebration held at On42 in Media One Hotel on February 28, 2018 alongside influencers, personalities and rappers, namely, Moh Flow, Freek, Majeed and Menon; DJ’s AY and DJ Liutik; MC Big Hass; BMX rider Muhammad Abdulmajeed and Calligraphy artist Diaa Alam. Timepiece Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Mohammed Deiki and Timepiece Deputy General Manager Mahmoud Jabsheh also joined Naka as two distinguished speakers who emphasized the evolution of the brand over the years and its legacy during the event.

Naka said, “Casio is all geared up for its MENA celebration, which will be highlighted by tours from our team to throw the spotlight on G-SHOCK’s shock-resistant structure based on the ‘real toughness’ concept and how this suits the fast-paced and dynamic lifestyle of many young Arabs today. The tour will start here in the UAE, which is our kick-off market, followed by other markets in the GCC, Levant Arabia and North Africa. This roadshow aims to drive up awareness on why G-SHOCK has maintained industry leadership over the last three decades and a half—showcasing how each timepiece is packed with Casio innovations and technologies, the iconic timepiece consists of fundamental elements that the MENA region will find highly functional and essential.”

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The UAE event came on the heels of a memorable anniversary festivity in New York City where G-SHOCK executives and friends honored the brand’s legacy. Celebrities, actors, and influencers were present during the New York gathering.

Since the launch of its very first model, G-SHOCK has continued to raise the bar high by leveraging Casio’s commitment to innovations and modern technologies. It has evolved over decades with improved functions and performance in keeping with the needs of contemporary times. The shock-resistant watch enjoys a wide and loyal following in the UAE and different parts of the globe and the number is growing steadily mainly thanks to its absolute toughness and innovative features.

The development of G-SHOCK began in 1981 with an engineer’s passion to create a rugged watch that would not break even if dropped. Two years and over 200 prototypes later, the first G-SHOCK model, the DW-5000C, featuring an all-new shock-resistant construction, was released in April 1983. It overturned the accepted notion that wrist-watches were inherently fragile and susceptible to shocks, paving the way for a new product category called the “tough watch.”

The G-SHOCK Red Out Limited edition watches are available at Virgin Megastore, Mall of the Emirates.

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Special Reports

25 years of RAMY Automotive

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The RAMY Automotive journey has been a long and exciting one. Founded in Dubai in April 1992 by a young Lebanese entrepreneur, Farid Semaan, who was inspired to bring his passion for cars closer to the market in the UAE. RAMY is a name that can be seen around the Emirates on all the most impressively modified vehicles: as well known for its projects as its close relationship with customers. But the way that RAMY has developed and progressed over the last 25 years can only truly be explained by the founder himself. So, on the occasion of its silver anniversary, I asked Farid Semaan a few questions about his brainchild: RAMY Automotive.

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What made you want to start RAMY?
I always loved cars and motorcycles. I worked for several years in my father’s company in the field of garage equipment where I was the Workshop Manager, responsible for installing and repairing lifts and diagnostic computers. However, I always felt that I needed to be closer to cars, so I began looking for alternative opportunities. It was in 1990, that I resigned from my father’s company and worked as a freelancer, importing Jeep accessories with a meager starting budget of AED 15,000. This went on for 2 years during which time I had the chance of helping the Toyota dealership in Kuwait to restart their workshop. Through this, I generated AED 400,000 which I used to set up Ramy Trading in March 1992.

Was RAMY always a car accessory company?
I had introduced Warn winches and managed SONAX Car Care products at my father’s company when I was awarded the position of Marketing Manager. When I left to work as a freelancer, I became the sole distributor of those brands in the UAE. I added several other products to my portfolio during the period when I was independant, these eventually formed the core products of RAMY Automotive. So, yes, RAMY has always been focussed on car accessories, but has since branched into other aspects of automotive modification.

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What is it about cars that you feel so passionate about?
When you love something passionately, you end up becoming obsessed with every aspect of it. Playing with cars goes back to when I was about 5 years old. I used to play with toy cars and with time a love developed for them. Whether that be a small Corgi Toy car or a real one, you start dreaming about what you could do, the car itself never ceasing to excite you. When you are a kid, you make it fly as far as your little arms can extend until, in your teenage years when you get your license, you drive it like there is no tomorrow. You are faster than the wind, unstoppable. Despite a few accidents, sheer luck leads to experience and, eventually, wisdom. Driving becomes an extension of your powers and pleasures, which carries a sense of freedom. A never ending love story that gets stronger the more you learn: the more you crave it then the more it will deliver.

What is behind the ‘RAMY’ name?
When I decided to name the company after Ramzi and Marwan, my sons, I took the first two letters of their names and wanted to call the company ‘RaMa’. Unfortunately, it was not accepted by the authorities then, as it represented the name of a Buddhist god. So, in order to keep the spirit of my son’s names in the company’s name, I changed it to ‘Ramy’ which in Arabic means ‘The Thrower’ or ‘The Shooter’, which was eventually accepted after a little help from my father!

What are some of your fondest memories over the last 25 years?
In the 1990s, I was the very proud owner of only the third Jeep Wrangler YJ that was ever sold in the UAE: a truly beautiful machine. Everybody wanted to buy it from me and I was stopped so many times by people asking if it was for sale. On one occasion, a man was ready to give me his brand new Mercedes C300 (very famous in those days) plus cash three times the value of the car, but I loved it too much to let it go. It was a matter of pride owning such a beautiful car that was turning heads, lifting eyebrows and making people stop in the street to admire it. Similar to the way that a painter falls so deeply in love with his painting that he cannot sell it, no matter how much he is offered. It is like giving away a piece of yourself. I also look back at the way that my boys, at a very early age, fell in love with our 4×4 cars to the point they influenced what cars their friends’ fathers bought. I have so many amazing memories of the last 25 years, even if I wrote a book it wouldn’t cover it all.

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What would you say separates RAMY from competitors?
With due respect to competitors, RAMY was never started with money in mind because I was earning much more working at my father’s company. It was started, because I dreamed of doing it for the love I had for cars and everything associated with them. The best part was always when you get the chance to test the cars that we modified. That spirit stands true in the company today as many of my team are 4×4 drivers or car racers in their free time. As an offshoot to that and part of the ethos of our company, every single member of RAMY is made to remember that the instant he or she walks out of our premises, they will unavoidably become a client somewhere else. I like to remind them of the fact that they would want to be treated well as a customer, so this sympathy is reciprocated when dealing with our own clients. And, as I said earlier, RAMY was never started with profit in mind, so we see clients as friends who share the same passion and love of all things cars, rather than walking bags of money!

How do you see RAMY progressing into the future?
The automotive field is so diverse and dynamic. Diverse in the range it offers and dynamic in the developments it has undergone in such a short time. So, at RAMY, we are aiming to cater to the ever changing environment by offering clients the best experience possible. Put simply: that means we will be designing and developing parts based upon suggestions and feedback from our clients. Parts that are, far too often, neglected by big industries. We have also made it our priority to put the client first, without sacrificing quality of our products or services.

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70 years of sports cars at Porsche

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Fast. Puristic. Emotive. For the past 70 years, the Porsche brand has been synonymous with sports car construction at the very highest level. The first vehicle to bear the Porsche name was registered on June 8, 1948: It was the 356 “No.1” Roadster. This is the day on which the Porsche brand was born. The Type 356 turned Ferry Porsche’s dream of a sports car into a reality. “His vision at that time embodied all of the values that still define the brand to this day”, said Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, at yesterday’s New Year Reception at the Porsche Museum. Representatives from the state of Baden-Württemberg as well as from the city of Stuttgart and the worlds of politics, economics and society, joined Porsche to celebrate the beginning of its anniversary year with the slogan “70 years of the Porsche sports car”.

“Tradition is a commitment. Without our tradition and without our core values, we would not be where we are today”, explained Blume. “We plan to uphold the standard of technical excellence set by Ferry Porsche well into the future. Intelligent dynamic mobility has a great future ahead of it. And we have the solid technological expertise, creative employees and unique team spirit to be involved. We have what it takes to ensure that the Porsche brand continues to fascinate – even in another 70 years.”

The history of the Porsche brand begins in 1948. Yet the foundation of the sports car manufacturer is built upon the life’s work of Professor Ferdinand Porsche – work which his son Ferry then continued. Ferdinand Porsche had already designed pioneering innovations for the automotive industry as early as the start of the last century. In 1900, he built an electric car with a wheel hub drive known as the Lohner-Porsche, a vehicle on which he would then base the world’s first all-wheel-drive passenger car. In the same year, he created a template for hybrid vehicles with the development of a mixed petrol-electric powertrain. In 1931, Ferdinand Porsche founded his own engineering office. The “Berlin-Rome Car” showcased in 1939 was the beginning of his idea for a sports car bearing the Porsche name, although this dream was only realised by his son Ferry in 1948 with the Type 356.

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The successor model to the 356, the Porsche 911 designed by Ferry Porsche’s son Ferdinand Alexander, finally gave the company its breakthrough as one of the leading manufacturers of sports cars in the world, both from a technical and a design perspective. The Porsche 911, presented to the global public for the first time in 1963, has now been built over a million times. “Although the 911 has been consistently developed in the intervening decades and enhanced many times over with new, innovative technologies, no other vehicle has managed to retain its original essence in the same way as the 911”, says Blume. “All Porsche models to be developed now and in the future are based on this sports car. As the centrepiece of the brand, the 911 has become the sports car of dreams, winning the collective heart of enthusiasts all over the world.”

The future of Porsche sports cars is already coming up to the starting line in the form of the Mission E, the first purely electrically driven technology champion from Zuffenhausen. This concept vehicle combines the distinctive emotional design of a Porsche, exceptional driving performance and forward-thinking everyday functionality. The four-door model with four individual seats delivers a system performance of over 440 kW (600 hp) and a range of more than 500 km, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 3.5 seconds and a charging time of around 15 minutes for 80 per cent of the electrical energy required. Porsche has invested around one billion euro in this futuristic project, creating more than 1,200 additional jobs just at the headquarters in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, where the Mission E will be built. “Porsche will always be Porsche – the leading brand for exclusive, sporty mobility”, reinforces Blume.

Porsche is celebrating this year’s anniversary with numerous activities around the world. On February 3 “The Porsche Effect” will open at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. In Germany, the first “70 years of the Porsche sports car” exhibition will open from March 20–31, at “DRIVE, the Volkswagen Group Forum” in Berlin. The Porsche Museum will also be holding its own anniversary celebrations with a comprehensive special exhibition opening on June 9. On the same day, Porsche will be inviting sports car fans to its “Sports Car Together Day” at all of its sites around the world. For the weekend of June 16–17, the sports car manufacturer will host employees, residents of the Zuffenhausen district and prospective customers to a public celebration in and around the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. The “Festival of Speed” held from July 12–15, at the Goodwood race track in the UK will also celebrate the anniversary, as will the “Rennsport Reunion” in California from September 27–30. The celebrations will conclude with the “Sound Night” event to be held for the first time in the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart on October 13. Further information is available at https://www.porsche.com/museum/en/.

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Ford Celebrates 41 Consecutive Years of Truck Leadership As F-150 Continues to Set US Sales Records

Ford has once again fortified its position as America’s truck leader with its F-Series marking 41 consecutive years as the nation’s best-selling pickup, and America’s best-selling vehicle for 36 years.

F-Series sales in 2017 increased 9.3 per cent with 896,764 trucks sold, representing F-Series’ best sales performance since 2005 and its dominance of the pickup market. Ford has now sold more than 27 million F-Series variants since January 1977 which, if lined bumper to bumper, would stretch over 150,000 kilometres and could circle the globe almost four times.

To put 2017 sales figures into some perspective, an F-Series truck was sold every 35 seconds throughout the year – a year in which Ford marked 100 years since the launch of its first purpose built truck, the 1917 Model TT.

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Ford’s truck leadership was founded on core values of innovation, durability, dependability and legendary toughness. In 1977, that meant a light duty pickup that featured an improved 351-series V8 engine, standard front disc brakes and the option of an extended SuperCab for the sixth generation F-Series. Fast forward 41 years, and customer expectations, lifestyles, work demands and usage have helped to define the world’s most innovative, technologically advanced, safest and most capable trucks ever produced.

The 2018 Ford F-Series

Debuted in the region at the Dubai International Motor Show in November 2017 and available today in dealerships across the Middle East, the 2018 Ford F-150 is tougher, smarter, and more capable than ever. The new model features a refreshed bolder design with a rich array of new technologies that add on to the already class leading capabilities that the truck boasts.

Three years after introducing a high-strength, military-grade, aluminium-alloy-bodied F-150, the new truck arrives with bold new styling, advanced technologies, a segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission and F-150’s most advanced engine line-up yet.

An enhanced 5.0-litre V8 normally-aspirated engine features significant upgrades for 2018 including advanced dual port and direct-injection technology for more horsepower and additional torque. Spray-on bore liner technology, also featured in the Shelby GT350® Mustang, has been added to squeeze out even more weight from the aluminium block. For the first time, the V8 is paired with the 10-speed SelectShift automatic.

For best-in-class towing, the second-generation 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 delivers roughly six tonnes of towing capacity thanks to its impressive 578 Nm torque. That level of power beats all diesel- and petrol-powered competitors, including V8 engines with nearly twice its displacement. With dual port and direct-injection technology, the 370-horsepower twin-turbo engine provides ideal low-end and peak engine performance for hauling heavy payloads and towing heavy trailers.

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