x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Leonardo di Caprio takes delivery of the new Fisker Karma

Hollywood star gets his hands on the all-new car from the maker of the Aston Martin DB9, while Peugeot launches a new hybrid, BMW boosts sales in the UAE and more motoring news.

The 508 RXH features claw-like vertical LED lights. Courtesy of Peugeot
The 508 RXH features claw-like vertical LED lights. Courtesy of Peugeot

Good Karma for di Caprio

The makers of the upcoming Fisker Karma claim to have 3,000 pre-orders for the performance car due out later this month.

The beautifully shaped vehicle has been created by the man who designed the Aston Martin DB9, Henrik Fisker.

The Karma is a series hybrid, meaning it is solely powered by two electric motors. But an onboard petrol engine generates electricity for the batteries when they need it.

Film star Leonardo di Caprio is to take delivery of the first car to roll out of the plant in Finland, while Al Gore and Colin Powell are among other famous faces to pre-order.

The Valmet production plant produces five cars a week but that figure is set to increase to 300 a week from November, according to Fisker, who estimates that the car will be sold out until early next year.

"Our sales are split 50:50 between early adopting car enthusiasts and total non-car enthusiasts who just like that we are bringing something totally new to market," he said. "They recognise the infrastructure isn't there for electric cars, and see we offer a stylish, stress-free alternative with no range compromises."


Peugeot reveals first hybrid car, with impressive fuel economy

Peugeot has unveiled its first diesel-electric vehicle, touting its innovative drivetrain technology and luxury interior.

The 508 RXH produces 200hp and maximum torque of 450Nm using its 2.0L HDi Hybrid4 drivetrain and also has a 100 per cent electric mode, for zero emissions.

The car is taller and wider than a 508 SW and has distinctive LED lights that are said to give the impression of three vertical lion claws on each side of a floating grille.

The interior of the 508 RXH benefits from distinctive colours and luxurious materials. As standard, you'll find Peugeot's Open & Go keyless system, electric front seats, head-up display, 18in wheels, panoramic glass roof, dark-tinted acoustic laminated side windows and the latest audio and satellite navigation unit.

As a result of the hybrid engine, the Peugeot returns an impressive 4.2L/100km combined, with 109g/km of CO2 emissions.

The 508 RXH, along with specs and pricing, will be unveiled as a world premiere at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September and will go on sale in spring next year.


Sales boost for BMW in UAE

Sales of BMWs in the Middle East have increased by an average of 13 per cent in the first half of this year, compared with the same period last year.

BMW Group Middle East followed a record year in 2010 with stronger sales this year, delivering 9,134 BMW and Mini units to 14 countries in the region.

The UAE was at the forefront of the company's growth, with sales performing best in Abu Dhabi, achieving a 32 per cent increase (2,247 vehicles), while Dubai had a 29 per cent growth rate (2,014 cars).

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait followed, with 14 per cent and 13 per cent growth respectively.

Reiner Braun, of BMW Group Middle East, said: "We continue to provide Middle East customers the very best in sheer driving pleasure.

"However, we do not see success as an invitation for complacency and watching our business grow only motivates us to do even better in the coming months."

The BMW 5 Series was the top selling model with 2,186 cars sold, followed by the 7 Series, of which 2,111 units were sold.

The X6 and X5 also proved popular with consumers as 1,385 and 1,206 cars were sold respectively.


One in eight drivers nod off while behind the wheel of car

One in eight drivers fall asleep while behind the wheel of their car, a new study has revealed.

The survey of 1,000 people by a UK charity found that "head-nodding" - when someone nods off for between two and 30 seconds - is relatively common.

One in four people also admitted to embarking on a journey when they already felt tired, while 86 per cent also failed to stop for a nap when they were tired.

The study by road safety charity Brake, published last week, is a reminder to all motorists - even here in the UAE - to avoid driving while tired.

Julie Townsend, of Brake, said: "Tiredness at the wheel kills. Driving a vehicle is a huge responsibility. That means stopping when we feel drowsy. It's a matter of life and death."

The advice is to get plenty of sleep before a journey, plan for adequate rest (a 15-minute break at least every two hours) and don't set out if you're already tired.


Renault growth just 0.4 per cent as European sales plummet

Renault's global car sales grew by just 0.4 per cent in the first six months of this year because of a big sales decline in Europe.

Worldwide, the company sold 1.19 million vehicles, for a market share of 4.3 per cent, but its sales in Europe slumped by 9.6 per cent as it struggled to keep up with orders. The car maker has been hit by a reduced supply of parts from Japan as a result of March's earthquake and tsunami.

In Asia and Africa, sales were also down 9.6 per cent, with 129,306 units sold, though the group did post a good performance in Iran thanks to the Logan and Mégane models, with sales up 70 per cent for a 4.7 per cent share of the market there.

When its range of light commercial vehicles is included in the figures, Renault's global sales rose 1.9 per cent.

For 2011 as a whole, the company now expects to see combined car and LCV sales growth of between three and four per cent, down from its earlier forecast.