The market for hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) in Lebanon has been given a massive boost this year, with new tax exemptions designed to incentivize both buyers and sellers (see story page 60). But while dealers and consumers wait for the benefits of these incentives to kick in—and for the industry in Lebanon to start importing EVs—there are a range of vehicles that are newly available or coming soon this year that car enthusiasts can peruse—a vehicle for every taste.
Since hybrids are the hot topic, we have good news: the Toyota Prius, the first ever mass-produced hybrid vehicle, distributed locally by Boustany United Machineries Company (BUMC), is debuting a new and improved version of the eco-friendly car this year. Meanwhile, Century Motor Company launched the new Hyundai hybrid in Lebanon, the Ioniq, late last year. Porsche is one of the first carmakers in the luxury segment to launch hybrids with the Cayenne Hybrid and the Panamera Hybrid, while also equipping showrooms and workshops with charging stations. The brand’s all-electrically powered Mission E four-seater and Mission E Cross Turismo Cross-Utility Vehicle (CUV) are expected to be released in Lebanon by 2019-2020.
Though green cars are a growing trend, one segment that will never go out of style is performance cars. One of the most highly anticipated supercars in the world is coming to Lebanon later this year: the Lamborghini Urus Super Sports Utility Vehicle (SSUV)—the first of its kind and an incredible supercar in the body of a sleek SUV. The local distributor Saad & Trad will be holding a special event to unveil this exciting vehicle.
Debuted in celebration of Ferrari’s 70th birthday late last year, the sporty, elegant, and ultra comfortable Ferrari Portofino is the brand’s most powerful convertible yet, and it will be available in Lebanon starting this summer with local distributor, Scuderia Lebanon. Likewise, after its launch at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the Ferrari 488 Pista will soon be coming to Lebanon. Its name is an homage to Ferrari’s unparalleled heritage in motor sports, and the car features extensive weight-saving solutions, along with engine, vehicle dynamics, and aerodynamic developments, all derived from Ferrari race cars. Scuderia also organized a car launch for the 812 Superfast earlier this year. Later in 2018, the exclusive distributor plans on organizing a range of events for its clients, including international test drives where clients can try out cars in destinations abroad, as well as lifestyle test drives where professional instructors from Italy will come to Lebanon to showcase the features of the latest Ferraris.
This year Porsche is also celebrating its 70th birthday, and Porsche Centre Lebanon is planning to mark the occasion with a special event in June. In 2018, Porsche Center Lebanon is releasing a whole lineup of new cars including Carrera T, Panamera Sport Turismo, GT3 RS, 718 GTS, as well as the fastest and most powerful road-approved 911, the GT2 RS, and the newly revealed third-generation Cayenne E3.
Aston Martin’s newest DB11 will also be launched later this year. Distributed by Tewtel Group, the alluring supercar is as beautiful as it is evolutionary.
Tiny but mighty, the Abarth 124 Spider is coming in May. Distributed in Lebanon by Gargour Automotive Company, the topless roadster looks completely different to the cute, boxy Abarth of old, and delivers a real racing experience.
When it comes to the luxury car segment, we have a few new launches to look forward to. A whole new brand is also entering the market this year: Hyundai’s luxury Genesis brand. One of the many exciting developments for Century Motor Company, the newly born Genesis is a stand-alone brand that has had three models in its lineup internationally since its launch in 2015. By the end of the summer, the all-new Genesis G70 will be available in Lebanon.
Looking to the tried and true brands of luxury, Saad & Trad is revealing the stunning new Bentley Continental GT later in the year, with its twin-turbocharged W12 engine, it’s not only phenomenally powerful, but also exquisitely crafted.
This year Land Rover, distributed in Lebanon by Tewtel Group, launched the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, both of which have had face-lifts, but also major interior updates that include new Touch Pro Duo technology. The latest model addition to the Land Rover family was revealed in 2018, the Range Rover Velar, a striking compact luxury crossover.
Jaguar’s new compact SUV E-Pace was launched earlier this year, with a unique combination of good looks, agility, and dynamic driving, it follows the trend toward more compact vehicles while maintaining the luxury we are used to from Jaguar, another brand under Saad & Trad.
Audi is ushering in a new design era with a series of launches, starting with the A8 in May, followed by the new A6 and A7 later in the year. This year, the brand is also revealing its first ever Q8, its largest and most luxurious SUV yet. In addition to the launches, Audi’s official distributor in Lebanon, Ets. F. A. Kettaneh, is hosting an ongoing Audi VR experience at AÏshti by the Sea, offering the closest thing to a real driving experience.
Cadillac, distributed in Lebanon under IMPEX, already saw the launch of the ATS Sedan a few months ago, the most powerful four-cylinder turbo engine in its category (272HP). Toward the end of the year the brand is also launching the XT4, an innovative, futuristic-looking, and very distinctive compact crossover.
Early in the year Volvo Cars, part of Gabriel Abou Adal & Co., launched its new Volvo XC60, a dynamic mid-size SUV crossover, which was voted World Car of the Year for 2018. Later this year, the brand is launching its new Volvo XC40—the first compact crossover SUV, named the 2018 European Car of the Year. It sets a new standard in its segment in terms of design, connectivity, and safety features, part of the brand’s 2020 vision to create safer cars. It is also the first model built around Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture, which will underpin all upcoming cars in the 40 series, including fully electrified vehicles.
Bassoul Heneine and its brand BMW is introducing a whole bunch of new car designs, including three in the X range: the all-new models BMW X2, BMW X4, and BMW X5. Also coming this year is the powerful new generation BMW 8 Series coupe and convertible, which is the epitome of dynamics and sophisticated luxury—the very essence of a BMW.
Alfa Romeo, distributed in Lebanon by Gargour Automotive Company, is launching the all-new Stelvio Quadrifoglio, which will be available in September in Lebanon, a luxury SUV for those who expect high performance and utility.
This year, G.A. Bazerji & Sons, official distributor of Maserati, is introducing the new Levante Trofeo. The sportier, more powerful version of the brand’s SUV is equipped with a V8 engine, one of the most powerful ever fitted in a Maserati, while retaining its Italian elegance. The 2018 models come in two trim options: GranLusso, with an emphasis on luxury, and GranSport, which is more dynamic.
Rasamny Younis Motor Company has already revealed two exciting vehicles from one of its brands, Infiniti. The giant QX80 and sleek QX30 are at opposite ends of the SUV spectrum, each appealing in its own right. The commanding, powerful, and ultra-luxurious QX80 (known as the QX56 until 2013) is an undoubtable force on any road—and doubly so on Lebanon’s unpredictable surfaces. Meanwhile, for those looking for luxury in a more compact package, there’s Infiniti’s first-ever premium active crossover, the QX30. Yet to be revealed is another vehicle in the SUV range. Coming in just above the QX30 is the new QX50, with its new design and a new-generation engine (the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine), which will have its official launch in the next few months. While some car companies are focusing on driverless cars, Infiniti is empowering the human behind the wheel, with the three new models standing as bold reminders of Infiniti’s daring and unique designs, accompanied with all the forward-thinking tech that enhances the driving experience.
Moving to brands and models in other classes, there are five new Hyundai models coming to Lebanon: The all-new i30N is a hot little hatchback that’s debuting in the Middle East for the first time this summer. Known for its innovative asymmetrical design, the new model Veloster puts the fun back into driving with a style that is sporty and unique. Meanwhile the all-new Santa Fe is made for the customer that values work and life, with its dignified exterior, and strong and sophisticated interior. Another cool car coming to the market is a brand new, stylish, and youthful crossover: the Kona. A familiar face is also getting a lift—the Accent subcompact car, now in its fifth generation, is bigger, bolder, and better than ever. In addition, the official distributor of Hyundai says they have two other new, top-secret models for this year. Looking to the future, we can also expect the all-new Sonata 2019 to land in Lebanon next year.
This year the official distributor of Toyota and its luxury division Lexus, BUMC, is also launching the small but sensational subcompact Toyota Yaris, and the mid-sized, sturdy Toyota Camry. What makes Toyota one of the most purchased brands worldwide is its range of designs and shapes to suit different customers. Not only that, but the new luxury saloon Lexus LS500 is set to be revealed soon, a dramatic sedan if ever there was one, with the carmaker’s first-ever twin-turbocharged engine.
Chevrolet, after being named the most awarded and fastest-growing brand for the last four years and being the only brand to earn the J.D. Power Dependability awards for cars, trucks, and SUVs three years in a row, distributed in Lebanon under IMPEX, is launching two new SUVs this year. The 2018 all-new compact SUV Equinox with class leading technology, roominess, safety, and performance. The slightly larger, all-new Traverse is also making its debut this year, advertised as the car for go-getters, adventure-seekers, and those always in motion. Meanwhile for those looking for a proper muscle car, this summer will see the ZR1 in Lebanon—the most powerful, fastest production Corvette has ever made.
A.N Boukather, the official distributor of Mazda in Lebanon, is celebrating their 50-year anniversary this year with a couple of new cars. Already launched is the newly redesigned Mazda CX-5, with a distinctive design and specialized Skyactiv fuel efficiency technology. With the previous generation CX-5 winning over 150 awards over the years, the new design is keeping up, this year coming in among the top three finalists for “World Car of the Year 2018” at the Geneva Motor Show. ANB will be revealing an exciting new family-oriented model redesign later this year. ANB also recently acquired Opel and will be launching a new showroom by summer.
Jeep, distributed in Lebanon by Gargour Automotive Company, has several launchings this year. The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has already had its reveal, and it’s setting new standards for the Cherokee experience. May will see the debut of the smaller Jeep Compass, the compact sport utility vehicle with awesome off-road capabilities. The Jeep Cherokee is set to reveal its face-lift in June, while the all-new Jeep Wrangler is expected to drop by July. Meanwhile Gargour is hosting several events for customers, including the annual Jeep Jamboree, which gathers owners from across the country to participate in exhilarating on-road and off-road drives, packed with fun activities.
As one of the most purchased car brands in the country, KIA, distributed by NATCO, is launching two new models this year: the compact Cerato and the luxury sedan Quoris, both high on tech and connectedness.
Tewtel Group, who also distributes Honda, is having a good year with this brand too, with the reveal of three new models: the popular compact Civic, the roomier and sleeker Accord, and the CR-V compact SUV. Later this year, their other brand Ford is also launching a new model, the Ford Ecosport.
In January, Porsche introduced the world to a whole new car buying experience, premiered in Beirut at the brand’s Downtown dealership. Named the Porsche studio, the sleek, luxurious space almost looks like a Porsche car turned into a room, with special lounge areas, an LED screen showing ongoing dynamic videos of the cars, a vehicle display that looks like a fashion runway, and more. The immersive brand experience also includes an on-site Trimming and Configuration Lab to customize vehicles.
Ferrari recently upgraded their 3500 square meter Dora showroom to be a 3S facility, meaning it combines the showroom, workshop, and bodyshop in a centralized space, offering a complete range of services and making it more convenient for clients.
Saad & Trad is debuting its renovated showroom for all three of its brands toward the end of the year. ANB is opening a brand new showroom in Hazmieh this summer for their newly acquired brand, Opel. Meanwhile, Bassoul-Heneine is also planning for a bigger state-of-the-art showroom in the near future.
Meanwhile, Gargour Automotive Company is continuously making an effort to improve its aftersales facilities, with the launch of a new support facility in Dora by the end of 2018.
With so many new car options on the market for various segments, there’s a car for everyone.