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Saudi female bikers ready to chart a new course

Time: January 19, 2019

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Bikers Skills Institute began training female riders as soon as the driving ban was lifted. (AN photo by Essam Al-Ghalib)

  • Saudi Arabia’s female motorcyclists await clarification on licenses
  • The royal decree in September 2017 that gave women the right to drive in the Kingdom from June 2018 stipulated that the laws on driving would be equal for men and women

JEDDAH: Almost seven months since Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on female drivers, women hoping to be granted a license to ride a motorcycle are still waiting. According to Wael Huraib, founder of Bikers Skills Institute (BSI) — which he claims is the only motorcycle training school for female riders in the Kingdom — no motorbike licenses are currently being issued for women.
“For ladies, as of now, they’re not able to get a license yet, and we don’t really know why,” said Huraib. “We heard that women have received tractor-trailer licenses, but we know for a fact that no motorcycle license applications are being processed. We are assuming the traffic police are very focused on cars, but whatever the problem is, we hope it is resolved soon.”
The royal decree in September 2017 that gave women the right to drive in the Kingdom from June 2018 stipulated that the laws on driving would be equal for men and women. But it appears that is not yet the case, despite assurances from the Saudi Directorate of Traffic a year ago that women would be permitted to drive motorcycles and trucks.

Elena Bukaryeva, an instructor at BSI, said she suspects there is some confusion or miscommunication between the traffic police administration and the licensing division.
“My husband spoke to one of the highest-ranking traffic police officials in Riyadh,” she told Arab News. “He said that there was nothing at all to stop women being issued motorcycle licenses.
“But the following day, one of the ladies who finished our course went to the traffic police and she was told there are no motorcycle licenses for women, only for men. The same thing happened when I applied for my license and when other women did.”
The General Directorate of Traffic did not respond to Arab News’ request for comment.
Bukaryeva said that she has heard of women with licenses issued abroad riding motorcycles in the Kingdom, although added that they are “semi-disguised as men” when doing so.
“When you are wearing loose clothing and a full-face helmet, no one can tell if you are a man or a woman,” she said, adding that she has not tried it herself as her husband told her it was not worth the risk.

BSI began training female riders as soon as the driving ban was lifted.
The company has graduated 18 women so far, including Reem Al-Megbel, a 30-year-old Saudi financial operations manager.
Al-Megbel was at the motorcycle school on Wednesday evening to practice riding, because she cannot, yet, do so on the roads.
“My dream is to wake up one day and have a car and a motorcycle in my garage and be free to choose what to drive,” she said. “It would probably be the motorcycle.”
Al-Megbel added that her “ultimate” dream, though, would be to take a road trip across the Kingdom with a group of fellow female bikers.
“That,” she said, “would be freedom.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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AL HADDAD MOTORS BRINGS YOU AN EXCLUSIVE OFFER AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET YOUR DREAM MERCEDES-BENZ VAT-FREE

Time: January 06, 2019  

This January, eliminate the extra cost of VAT and drive off in your dream Mercedes-Benz with an exclusive offer from Al Haddad Motors. All you have to do is headover to the Al Haddad Motors showroom, pick the car of your dreams from the wide range of Mercedes-Benz vehicles and Al Haddad Motors will cover the extra cost of VAT.

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This offer is valid on most of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles currently on display at the Al Haddad Motors showroom as well as on the Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned vehicles.

In order to receive this exclusive offer, simply follow the below steps:

Step 1: Scan the QR code or visit https://mercedesbenzbahrain.weebly.com/

Step 2: Either click on the VAT offer pop-up window or go to the VAT voucher page.

Step 3: Fill and submit your contact details.

Step 4: Download and print your VAT free voucher.

Step 5: Present it to our sales consultant when visiting the Al Haddad Motors Showroom and enjoy a 5% VAT deduction on your Mercedes-Benz.

The website also allows you to check out all the latest offerings and promotions from Al Haddad Motors as well as book a test drive. More features of the website include location details for Al Haddad Motors facilities, as well as the contact details. Al Haddad Motors also welcomes your suggestions and feedback through the website.

Al Haddad Motors also bring you additional benefits such as offering an unlimited mileage warranty on all new Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The  Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-owned vehicles also come with several exclusive Mercedes-Benz benefits that include a 12 months warranty, a multipoint technical check carried out by factory trained technicians, as well as full vehicle service history.

The most notable models that are included in the offer are the new C-Class range, the C-Class sedan, Coupé and Cabriolet, as well as the GLE Coupé. The  C-Class range features perfect proportions, a high level of comfort and a super luxurious drive, with a technological prowess that sets it apart from the rest. The GLE Coupé brings you the best of both worlds merging the presence of an SUV with the dynamism and agility of a coupé all in the contemporary luxury of a Mercedes-Benz.

Hurry and get your dream Mercedes-Benz VAT free this January. This offer is valid until the 31st of January, 2019.

This article was first published in Abc-Saudi Arabia

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All-new BMW 8 Series rolls out in Kingdom

Time: December 29, 2018   

All-new BMW 8 Series will be available for sale across MYNM showrooms in December 2019

MYNM, the official importer of BMW Group in Saudi Arabia, announced the arrival of the all-new BMW 8 Series. Presenting the redefinition of the sports car, the new BMW 8 Series Coupe combines powerful performance and high-end luxury effortlessly – delivering an exceptional drive experience. MYNM has welcomed the all-new BMW 8 Series in the Tahlia showroom in Jeddah last

Dec. 24.

The new BMW 8 Series Coupe integrates lateral and longitudinal dynamic performance with poise, assurance and luxury over long distances. It also opens a further chapter in the brand’s successful sports car history and kicks off the premium manufacturer’s model initiative in the luxury segment.

Body structure, drive technology

and suspension focus squarely on achieving the elite dynamic performance expected of a top-class sports car. Development parallel to the BMW M8 and the BMW M8 GTE endurance racer.

Low center of gravity, well-balanced weight distribution, lightweight construction using aluminum, magnesium and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), aerodynamically optimized and virtually lift-free body, powerful engines, sports exhaust system, rear axle differential lock, extremely stiff body and suspension structure. Adaptive M suspension, Integral Active Steering and mixed-size tires come as standard. Active roll stabilization optionally available for the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe.

The all-new BMW 8 Series Coupe features relaxed and luxurious interior ambience, longitudinally oriented lines and surfaces which direct the eye forward onto the road. The clearly structured arrangement of controls underscores the focus on the driver and the importance attached to delivering a sporty and dynamic driving experience.

Moreover, the high-grade materials, sophisticated interior lighting, trim surfaces rising from the center console to the instrument panel add to the luxury element of this powerful machine. MYNM is excited to bring aboard this new edition, which will truly elevate the driving experience of this segment.

The all-new BMW 8 Series will be available for sale across MYNM showrooms December 2019. Upon arrival, customers are invited to view the model in person and experience it through a test drive.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette

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Samaco opens new Audi Center in Riyadh

Time: December 25, 2018

The opening ceremony was attended by the directors of Audi Middle East, Audi Formula E race team officials and drivers participating in the first round of the season, Audi enthusiasts, customers and the media.

Samaco Automotive Company, the exclusive dealer for Audi cars in Saudi Arabia, has announced the opening of its new integrated center in Riyadh. The facility is part of the company’s strategic expansion plans in Saudi Arabia.

The opening ceremony was attended by the directors of Audi Middle East, Audi Formula E race team officials and drivers participating in the first round of the season, Audi enthusiasts, customers and the media. Guests got an opportunity to view the new Audi e-tron FE05 Formula E race car.

The new Audi Center, located in the heart of Riyadh’s commercial district, has a total area of 2,335 square meters. The company invested over SR20 million ($5.3 million) in the construction of the facility, which consists of administrative offices, a car showroom that can accommodate up to 18 new cars and an additional ground floor area dedicated to Audi Approved :plus pre–owned cars.

Kerem Tas, general manager of the Audi brand at SAMACO Automotive, said: “We wanted to coincide the launch of the opening round of Formula E championship with the opening of our integrated Audi Center in Riyadh and especially highlight our Audi Sports showroom.”

Our range of Audi Sport models demonstrates outstanding performance and we are honored to be able to share this experience with the Audi Formula E championship winning team and our customers.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Ad-Diriyah ABB Formula E: A drive towards the future

Time: December 20, 2018   

Last weekend in Riyadh, I attended Ad-Diriyah ABB Formula E, the opening round of season five. The event attracted more than 40,000 people from all over the world. Many activities and large-scale concerts were held along with the actual race, but what resonated with me the most was witnessing all of these technological advancements while still experiencing the historic atmosphere of Ad-Diriyah.

The Ad-Diriyah Gate Development Authority opened the gates to At-Turaif, which is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Saudi Arabia, for the first time since it was accorded its UNESCO status. At-Turaif was transformed into an interactive zone that included museums, live cultural performances and a chance to experience the traditional life at the time of the formation of the first Saudi state. Visitors interacted joyously with this one-of-a-kind experience that combined both tradition and modernity.

One can make an assumption that it is simple to preserve a historic site such as Ad-Diriyah. However, adhering to the pre-existent heritage buildings within the context of the fast developments and transformations that are taking place in the rest of the city is not an easy task.

This leads to an important question: How can the developments in Ad-Diriyah serve the heritage of the town without demeaning its values and historical significance?

After Ad-Diriyah hosted the Middle East’s first Formula E race on December 15, Gerard “Jerry” Inzerillo, the CEO of the Ad-Diriyah Gate Development Authority, said: “With all that vision, boldness and welcome, you want to go to the soul, the pearl, the jewel of the Kingdom, and that’s the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ad-Diriyah and At-Turaif.” He then added: “It’ll be the stop-off point for the region. It’s where the region started. Arabia started at Ad-Diriyah.”

Indeed, Ad-Diriyah has its own set of variables that forms a special context for development and these were observed, assessed and dealt with sensitively during the ABB Formula E weekend race in a way that conserves the architectural heritage of the town.

Apart from Ad-Diriyah Formula E, I attended Formula E in Zurich several months ago. In both events, I saw how Formula E acts as a platform for technological and sustainable innovation through e-mobility. The technological advancements of e-mobility, such as battery life and efficiency, have been steadily developing over the past years. For instance, during the Zurich race, drivers had to switch cars during mid-race because the electric single-seater battery cannot complete a race distance. However, six months later, in Ad-Diriyah drivers no longer switched from one car to another during mid-race after an increase of battery capacity. This was the first continuous Formula E race that went for around 45 minutes without a single stop. Also, there were other types of e-cars introduced in Ad-Diriyah race weekend that use fast-charging systems, such as ABB’s that power car batteries in a flat eight minutes to run up to 200 kilometers of range.

All in all, what I witnessed last weekend surpassed, not only mine, but everyone’s expectations. The whole event from start to finish was astounding. From amazing performances by international artists to showcasing the Kingdom’s culture and authentic hospitality, this was truly a successful weekend race added to the motorsport’s history books.

Kariman Abuljadayel was the first Saudi woman to compete in the 100m race at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. She is an accredited architect with a BA and MA in Architecture from Northeastern University in Boston. Currently, Kariman is a lecturer of Architectural Engineering at Alfaisal University. Follow her on Twitter: @TheKariman

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette

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Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

Time: December 16, 2018

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years … I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place … and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract.

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix Race Day

Time: December 16, 2018  
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Antonio Felix da Costa won the opening ABB FIA Formula E Championship race of the season in Saudi Arabia. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ad Diriyah Formula E-Prix race marks the beginning of the fifth season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, and teams will use their Gen2 cars in the competition for the very first time.
Portuguese driver Antonio Felix da Costa held on for victory ahead of Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Jerome d’Ambrosio in the Mahindra car at the inaugural race on Saturday.
The event saw 22 professional drivers representing 11 nations and teams, competing in a 2,495 km race.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, along with his counterparts from the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, and Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad, were pictured attending the closing ceremony of the inaugural event.

This article was first published in Arab News

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LIVE STREAM: Ad-Diriyah Formula E Championship race

Time: December 15, 2018
The Ad-Diriyah Formula E Championship started on Saturday in Saudi Arabia with the start of the fifth season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

All 11 Formula E teams will use their Gen2 cars in competition for the very first time.

Earlier on Saturday, the final practice session of the free trial was launched at the Ad-Diriyah Racing Circuit.

Also watch: Live coverage of the final practice session before qualifiers of the 2018 SAUDIA Ad-Diriyah E-Prix.

 

Watch: Live coverage of the qualifiers of the 2018 SAUDIA Ad-Diriyah E-Prix.

 

WATCH: Formula E Ad-Diriyah race explained

All you need to know about Saudi’s Ad-Diriyah Formula E-Prix race

Ad-Diriyah Formula E-Prix racing action begins, thrilling young and old

IN PICTURES: Saudi, Emirati Foreign Ministers in Formula E

Technology, trends in focus as 5th Formula E season opens in Saudi’s Ad-Diriyah

WATCH: Formula E Massa take on a falcon in Saudi Arabia

This article was first published in Al Arabiya English  

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Jeddah to host Saudi International Motor Show

Time: December 11, 2018

On display will be the latest car models from leading brands from the US, Europe, Japan, Korea and China, including more than 100 new models of 2019.

The Saudi International Motor Show (SIMS) is preparing to unveil this year’s popular makes and models at the Jeddah Center for Forums and Events from Dec.16-20.

On display will be the latest car models from leading brands from the US, Europe, Japan, Korea and China, including more than 100 new models for 2019.

Car enthusiasts will be treated to the latest gadgetry, including lights, music systems and upgrades displayed by Saudi and international companies.

The annual motor show, in its 40th year, will offer to both female and male visitors action-packed activities, such as stunt driving, drifting motorsport events and on-road experiences.

The show is organized by Jeddah based Al-Harithy Company for Exhibitions (ACE) and will be preceded by the launch of a number of new models, which will take place before the official inauguration.

Hadi Al-Harith, CEO of Al-Harithy Company for Exhibitions, said: “Over the past 40 years, SIMS, the region’s largest and longest established automotive event, consistently provides the automotive industry with a unique and unrivaled direct marketing opportunity, where exhibitors will be able to launch their new models and showcase their latest products and services to a large audience of over 100,000 potential customers.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Renault launches first-of-its-kind test drive service

Time: December 02, 2018

Renault cars are characterized by strength, functionality, and safety, with innovative technological features, and attractive modern designs.
Gulf Advantage Automobiles (GAA), the importer of Renault cars in Saudi Arabia, has launched a first-of-its-kind service in the Kingdom allowing customers the opportunity to test drive and experience Renault at any location of their choosing in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. Customers are presented with the option to request a Renault vehicle of their choice to be delivered for an opportunity to take a closer look at what the French automaker has to offer at the comfort and convenience of their homes.
“The Renault home test drive service confirms GAA’s keenness to communicate and interact with its customers wherever they might be. It is a confirmation that GAA is striving to provide customers with the needed support throughout their shopping journey. They have the opportunity to experience all models of Renault without having to visit the company’s showrooms by merely visiting the landing page www.renaultanywhere.com,” a press release said.
GAA reiterated the importance of this new service to serve all its customers, especially women drivers in the Kingdom, allowing them to test drive Renault at the comfort of their homes.

This article was first published in Arab News

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