Auto News: A peek into the exciting motoring moments and events in the region

From car debuts to regional milestones, here's what's happening in the motor space

By George Kuruvilla

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Published: Mon 26 Feb 2024, 6:41 PM

Dubai, the rising capital for car culture, has had a busy start to 2024 with a calendar packed with launch and drive events, organised by almost every automaker and distributor in the region. Here are a few of the highlights from the past few weeks:

Zenvo Aurora hypercar makes its MENA debut

The Elite Cars, the authorised distributor in the MENA region for the Danish brand Zenvo Automotive, launched the Zenvo Aurora hypercar. With a name inspired by the wonderous Aurora Borealis, it made sense that the launch event took place under the starlit skies at the Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah. The latest model comes in two distinct variants, Agil and Tur. With a production run of just 50 units for each model, the Aurora has become an instant collector’s item. Hence, it comes as no surprise that nearly 50% of the units have already been booked before production.

Designed by Christian Brandt, both derivatives exhibit Danish artistry and innovation with an emphasis on the ‘form follows function’ ethos. Both models feature a striking design, with a low-slung body and lightweight chassis.

The Aurora, which starts at Euros 2.590 million (Dh11-12 million approximately), features the most powerful V12 engine ever fitted to a road car. Its mechanical heart is a 6.6-litre quad-turbo V12 engine paired with lightweight electric motors producing 1850 hp for the Tur and 1450 hp for the Agil. Utilizing Formula 1 technologies, the Aurora is designed to achieve the 0-100km/h sprint in just 2.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 450 km/h.

The aero-optimized Aurora Agil features a stripped-out cabin and rear-wheel drive system as standard. It tips the scales at just 1,300kg and is designed for track driving. While the more classically-styled Aurora Tur offers ostentatious luxury with a permanent four-wheel-drive, (with two additional electric motors on the front wheels providing 200 bph each), enhancing speed and stability for road driving. It can also travel up to 35 km on pure electric power.

The Zenvo Aurora will be hand-built at the Zenvo headquarters in Præstø, Denmark and first deliveries are expected in 2026.

2024 Volkswagen Touareg enters the Middle East market

In February we also welcome the face-lifted version of the third-generation Volkswagen Touareg to the Middle East. As before, the revamped family SUV is expected to embody a good mix of sporting appeal, performance, and everyday practicality; and is now available in dealerships across the region.

On the frontal design, some noticeable changes have been made. It now comes with a luminous light strip above the radiator grille, and the brand logo projection upon entry. While at the rear, the end-to-end lamp cluster (inspired by the ID electric-vehicle range) and the red-illuminated logo give it that distinction over the outgoing model.

Setting the mood in the cabin is multi-colour ambient lighting system that allows for personalization with 30 different colours and features like the 18-way seat adjustment, seat ventilation, and massage functions stamp the Touareg’s recently-accredited luxury tag. The Innovision Cockpit features a seamless curved glass surface that combines a 12-inch digital instrument cluster with a 15-inch infotainment screen and this user-centric console can be operated either by touch, gesture, or voice control. It is complemented by the premium DYNAUDIO sound system and App-Connect, for seamlessly integrating smartphone functionality.

For enhanced agility and comfort, the Touareg can be equipped with the optional all-wheel steering and air suspension systems. While the Touareg’s HD LED matrix headlights - each harnessing over 19,000 controllable LEDs – augment safety. Available for the first time in the region, the 2024 Touareg features Intersection Assist. This serves as an extra set of eyes for the driver, utilising advanced radar sensors to monitor potential hazards at blind junctions and exits.

Prices for the 2024 Volkswagen Touareg start at Dh204,132, which includes a 3-year/unlimited mileage warranty, a 4-year/60,000km service pack, and free registration.

UD Trucks achieves record 2023 sales in MEENA; unveils Euro 5 range in KSA

Truck manufacturer UD Trucks has announced record-breaking sales of its products and services in the MEENA region for 2023 reinforcing its position as one of the industry leaders in commercial logistics. Much of its demand can be attributed to the region’s economic development and the brand’s involvement in mega and prestigious projects, including those at Neom and the Red Sea.

In Saudi Arabia, UD Trucks saw a double-digit increase in retail sales compared to 2022. Aligning with Saudi Arabia Vision 2030's sustainability goals, UD Trucks has also launched its Euro 5 models. The new range will be assembled at the Arabian Vehicles & Trucks Industry (AVI) facility in the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), a joint venture between Zahid Tractor & Heavy Machinery Co. Ltd and Volvo Truck Corporation.

In the United Arab Emirates, 2023 was a record-breaking year with a triple-digit increase in retail sales, thanks to the nation’s rapid growth in urbanisation and population. It was also helped by sales to the waste management sector, e.g., UD Trucks delivered 300 waste management units to Abu Dhabi, with 100 trucks each dispatched to government and construction entities in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

UD Trucks also improved its market share in other Middle Eastern markets, like Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman. In East Africa, despite economic and political challenges, UD Trucks secured second place in market share in Uganda and plans to set up a local assembly in Kenya in 2024. In Egypt, UD Trucks appointed a new partner, with plans for an official launch by the end of the second quarter.

The Euro 5 Quester and Croner models feature upgrades to minimise their environmental impact, and to improve efficiency, uptime, and profitability, all while reducing NOx emissions by 43 percent compared to their Euro 4 predecessors. With increased service intervals, these trucks will have less time spent in the workshop, thereby prioritising environmental stewardship, efficiency, and ownership costs.


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