First car to roll out of RUF-Bahrain by year-end
Manama, August 15, 2007
The first cars built in Bahrain will roll off the production line before the end of the year, a senior company official said.
The general manager of performance car firm RUF-Bahrain, Lothar Drescher, said the $20 million RUF-Bahrain manufacturing facility adjacent to Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) is set to start manufacturing the firm's high-end vehicles in October, with the first vehicles completed soon after.
He also revealed the firm is studying plans to source alloy parts directly from Alba, and the possibility of shipping cars from Bahrain to the US as it looks to crack the American market.
'I believe Bahrain has a lot of potential as a car manufacturing location. It is geographically quite well centred in the GCC, secondly there is a tax advantage - for example in comparison with Germany - which has quite a huge impact.
'Being in Bahrain makes distribution within the Middle East much, much easier because to date we have neglected this area a little bit and we would like to see that we gain a little bit more in this part of the world.
'I believe in the near future we definitely will make use of Alba for alloy parts and we can probably establish quite a well-organised level of co-operation between them and ourselves. We see great potential in that one,' he said.
The much-praised US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA) means the firm could ship cars directly to the US.
'Our presence here in Bahrain is to serve the Middle East and Bahrain - but we haven't sorted out yet how we are going to handle the American market. Since America and Bahrain have a quite a good agreement we might consider delivering cars from here to the US because of all the advantages,' he said.
Drescher also said cars manufactured in Bahrain could emulate other luxury marques by having their place of origin displayed discreetly on the car's chassis.
'Already the car will be identified by being from Bahrain by its chassis number - but we might consider something more than that in the same way Aston Martin has 'Made in England' on its cars,' he said.
The new RUF Bahrain Automobile Manufacturing and Assembly Facility is the first facility German carmaker RUF Automobile has built outside of its Pfaffenhausen headquarters.
When it begins production in October the facility's 70-strong workforce, of which at least 20 per cent will be Bahraini, will make each vehicle from individual parts shipped from abroad.
'After Ramadan we will definitely start with the production line. We will get most of the items in what we called 'knocked down' state - the engine parts will be in bits and pieces and it will all be assembled here,' Drescher said.
The high-performance cars assembled in Bahrain will include several models based on the chassis of Porsche vehicles which will then be modified.
One of its highest profile models, the CTR3, is capable of accelerating from 0-100 kilometres an hour in 3.2 seconds. 'Cars are made specifically to order. The CTR3 will cost approximately BD190,000 - and we have 10 orders already,' Drescher revealed. -TradeArabia News Service