'Rolls-Royce with alligator skin' - crazy demands of car fans in UAE
The super-wealthy are quick to whisk things off the shelves of UAE stores, whether it’s the latest fashion, fine jewellery or must-have furniture.
However, bosses at one of the world’s most exclusive car firms have revealed that there is something else the rich want without delay - a Rolls-Royce.
Customers elsewhere in the world might have to wait a year or more to get their hands on one of the luxury cars.
Not so in Dubai, where the distributors keep a handful in stock for customers who want to walk in, pay up and drive off.
Buyers with more time to spare, though, like nothing more than to bling up their ride - requesting a range of added extras, from alligator skin and gold buttons to hand-embroidered headrests.
Mohammed El Arishy, Rolls-Royce brand manager in Dubai, said: “While in the rest of the world we take orders for the car - here we’ve taken the risk of just ordering some mix-and-match models because people don’t like to wait.”
He added: “One guy walked in - he had just made some money in real estate - and he wanted the car then.
“He wanted our account number so he could transfer the money.”
El Arishy said: “We had to rush to organise everything so he could drive off to his meeting.” Usually, however, buyers take their time and El Arishy said the firm has received some unusual requests.
He said one customer wanted the entire car - inside and out - in yellow, while another wanted a falcon motif in the headrests – a procedure that required 40 hours of embroidery, involving 11 different threads and 21,000 stitches.
El Arishy said: “There have been many demands, and in the Middle East there is a demand for bright colours and what you would call the bling factor.”
He added: “It’s all about personalisation. Sometimes customers want features that don’t exist on any brochure for any car in the world... If it is legal and safe then we will make it happen.”
El Arishy recalled one example in the United States: “A music producer asked for a feature to celebrate signing new artists. He wanted to press a button so a bottle of bubbly popped out after a contract was signed.”
Other requests include leopard-print seats, pure gold buttons and neon-coloured interiors and exteriors.
However, El Arishy said there was one snag with a bespoke car: “The prospects of finding a buyer for, say, a pink Phantom with the names of the kids etched into the dash may not be so good.”