The first sports car to be designed in Qatar will officially be unveiled at this year’s Motor Show, which opens to the public on Jan. 28.
During a press conference yesterday, organizers of the show declined to give details about two new vehicles they said would be launched at the event.
But Abdul Wahab Ziaullah confirmed that one of the reveals would involve Elibriea, a two-door coupé he conceptualized and designed as an undergraduate engineering student at Texas A&M University at Qatar.
Speaking to Doha News, the 27-year-old said:
“This is the first of its kind in Qatar. It took me two years to develop and test, and now I am currently working to develop Qatar’s next supercar.”
Although full details of the car have yet to be revealed, Ziaullah said the concept car has a 525 brake horsepower engine that is positioned between the front and rear axles, which can help reduce the chances of spinning out or skidding.
He added that the car is the first of its kind to be constructed in Qatar.
This year’s motor show, which runs from Jan. 28 until Feb. 1, has moved venues from the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) near Education City to the recently-opened Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) next to City Center mall in West Bay/Dafna.
According to organizers, the move was due to DECC’s bigger new halls and more central location, which should help attract more visitors.
Some 17,000 square meters of floor space will be used for the sixth annual show, 13 percent more than the 15,000 square meters used during last year’s five-day event.
A total of 40 automotive brands are expected to exhibit at this year’s show – up from the 35 who took part last year, including local favorites Toyota, BMW, Mercedes and Nissan.
High-end models from the likes of Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls Royce and Porsche will also return this year.
However, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Bentley are not taking part again.
Under the title “explore the world of motion,” this year’s show will display classic cars and host an interactive fan zone outdoors, said Roger Abi Haider, general manager of co-organizers Elan Events.
There will also be a daily car parade through the busy West Bay district, and visitors will be able to test-drive the latest models, he added.
Although 2016 is set to be more economically challenging for some sectors in Qatar, with inflation set to rise and experts predicting smaller salary raises, Haider remained bullish about forecasted sales of new cars.
“There is more brand participation this year – more people taking part and more cars. We believe there will be more cars being sold this year, despite what’s going on in the economy,” he told Doha News.
Makers have used previous shows to launch new concepts, such as the Middle East’s first fully-electric car, the two-seater Twizy that was unveiled by Renault in 2014.
Haider said that this year however, more environmentally-conscious models would likely not be making a debut.
“Each region has its own demand. There is not much demand in this region for electric cars right now, although soon there may be.”
Luxury appears to have more allure for Qatari car buyers. The 2013 show featured the Arab world’s first supercar, W Motors’ Lykan Hypersport, which helped to attract its first buyer.
Complete with diamond, gold and platinum-crusted interiors – and an asking price of $3.5 million – the first customer was confirmed, but not named at the time.
And in 2014, the general manager of BMW importer Alfardan Automobiles told Doha News that the upper-end 7-series is among the most popular models with his customers.
Conversely, the less-expensive 3-series is typically the best-selling model for BMW dealers in other parts of the world, he said.
“The Qatar market is tilted towards the luxury segment,” Mohammed Kandeel said at the time, adding that sales were up by 12 percent in 2013 – his fourth straight year of double-digit growth.
The show is free and open to the public, including children. Opening times are: Jan. 28, 4pm to 10pm; Jan. 29, 1pm to 10pm; Jan 30, 1pm to 10pm; Jan. 31, 4pm to 10pm and Feb. 1, 1pm to 8pm.
Do you plan to check it out? Thoughts?