The Dubai International Motor Show. Held annually in the United Arab Emirates it might be the most unique car show on the planet. Why? Because it’s one of the only places on earth that you can go from checking out a new Mitsubishi compact model, then witness 4×4 or 8×8 machinery that can drive literally anywhere. After all that, you’ll find yourself finishing up with hoverbike owned by Dubai Police. If you’re up for surprises, Dubai is your spot.
Given the tough economic times, some brands consciously decided to not invest in motor shows this year and at this years Dubai Motor Show, this was all too clear. There was no Volkswagen, Volvo, Audi, Peugeot and many more. With some companies stating that motor shows cost more than they provide in return, their absence was all too clear.
In Dubai, Toyota was also absent. However, this was for good reasons. Toyota is a major player in UAE and from what we’ve witnessed, they might own 30% of the market. If you’re important here, you drive in Land Cruiser, if you’re a taxi driver, you drive a Corolla Hybrid, if you want a solid daily car Corolla is also your choice. If you’re peoples first choice, you let the sales do the talking rather than Motorshow visits.
So who was present? Starting from the budget range – GAC Motors. A brand which confuses you with each model. From the front, a range of cars that remind you of several Italian brands, from the rear-end, German. Each of their models is strongly influenced by existing cars on the market, and as a result, it’s hard to find anything unique. The same goes for the interior, each car is dramatically different, leading you to the belief that you can’t imagine they are all from one brand.
Another brand on display was Hongqi. Some of you might know it from the TV show, The Grand Tour. With a logo inspired by an American Cadillac’s tailfin, they provide SUV, limousines and sedans. Except for totally unique royal limousine L5, all of their models lack any character. They appear in a copy/paste form from brands in production around the world, again it’s a brand that lacks individuality.
For heavyweights Nissan, their model range for Dubai is built from the American product line. On display was a new Patrol, so big that it generates gravity. And once get you get sucked in, the interior is as refined as it’s supposed to be in luxury SUV. If you wish to get something more practical, there was also a pickup. Finally, if you need something that has a thirst for fun, then there was GT-R 50th Anniversary edition waiting for you. Mitsubishi also decided to focus on Land Cruiser competition and they’ve put new Montero Sport on the main stage. It’s clear that large SUVs must be best sellers in the UAE.
If you decide that you want to step up, you can also choose from a variety of Jaguar models, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Maserati. As a competition to above, Cadillac appeared focused on their XT series SUVs and CT series sedan and of course the crown jewel of Escalade. Each car has a minimum of 6 cylinders, leather trim and a whole lot of supporting electronics. Cadillac’s representative told us that they want to gain more customers in Europe but they don’t plan on engines downsizing, so it might be an interesting alternative to 1.2 and 2.0 turbocharger R4 that dominated the European market.
If you still feel that is not enough and you need something bigger, in terms of power and size, another American brand came with help, Chevrolet and GMC. Both came to Dubai with their pickup trucks which are absolutely ideal for Dubai but don’t get fooled, they are far too big for Europe’s roads and more importantly – parking spaces. Yet, we have to admit, they are monumental and extremely spacious cars.
Chevrolet also brought something smaller, and with it came it’s most important premiere this year, the new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette which after 50 years is a mid-engine car again. It looks like an arrow. Shortnose, long tail, all sharp edges and aggressive attitude. It looks like a fast car and it is certainly set to bring great value and performance for the money.
If you think luxury and SUV, you have to consider Range Rover. And if you visit this event, you can. Land Rover brought the whole product portfolio. The Range Rover, Evoque, Velar, Discovery and their newest creation, the legend that drove on every continent on earth, the new Defender all were in attendance. It definitely has a character – its lines are simple, it’s design has appeal and the interior is heavy duty and easy to clean. There is no doubt, it’s a car for heavy work, not a boulevard cruiser. Still, it’s so unique and it’s going to be a best-seller even if they spent zero time offroad.
If after all of these choices you are still yet to quench your car requirements you are in luck. Coming with the ability to float on water, is bulletproof or blast-proof meet Russian company Streit Group. Present at this years show, Streit presented their all-terrain Sherpa which can also swim. Currently, it works hard in Sudan as a food supplies delivery vehicle. Chosen for that task because of it’s versatility, Streit also has other 4×4 and 8×8 trucks available for when the tasks get that bit more demanding.
Finally, if you decide outrunning danger is better, there was also Bugatti present with it’s newest creation, the Divo. Aspark also had a presence, displaying their impressive machine, the Owl. At current it is the fastest accelerating supercar taking just 1.9s to go from 0-62MPH.
It wasn’t all static displays, as outside of the main hall, there was a Prodrift academy station where tire squeal and supercharger whine-filled air. For as little as £20, anyone could be a passenger in drift taxi (Dodge Charger and Nissan 370Z) and get familiar with driving sideways.
Besides above there was also supercar alley, which showcased hidden gems, from UAE’s garages. Those include an amazing collection of Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Maclaren, Bugatti supercars alongside many many more.
As you see, Dubai Motor Show is full of versatility, that’s why we think it’s the perfect place to witness the automotive market at its finest.
This article was written by one of our partners, Tomasz Zalewski of Sensi Labs.