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Home > Business > PTI > Report

DC's concept cars a hit in Dubai

December 13, 2005 11:05 IST

Leading car cosmetic surgeon Dilip Chhabria's concept cars, the only Indian debut at the 8th Middle East International Motor Show in Dubai, has made several heads turn -- enough to help the stylist decide on foraying into the custom-built market in the Gulf region.

Having established its presence in the very special custom-built car market in India, Chhabria's DC Design feels that it is only logical to move to a market, which has the highest car-per-person ratio in the world and where customer spending on lifestyle products is high.

"We have joined hands with EximStar, a leading automotive trading company, to market our vehicles in this part of the world," Chhabria said.

The joint venture, the finer details of which is still being eked out, is confident of selling at least 150 re-designed vehicles in 2006.

The DC Design stall which showcased two of Chhabria's creations -- a Mercedes S-500 Stretch and a DC Star XS (the first two-door SUV on the Porsche Cayenne platform) -- evoked considerable excitement among car enthusiasts.

But Chhabria said DC Star, as the JV would be called, was not here to per se sell the concept vehicles, but to gauge the market.

"There are no specific numbers available for demand of custom-built vehicles. . . we want to test (the waters and) see what price point the customer is willing to pay," he said.

Based on the success, DC Star would set up a manufacturing facility for tailor-made cars here, said EximStar's Saleem Ansari, who said the JV's offering would be high on quality and soft on the pocket.

"Our products would be at least more than 10 per cent less than our European competitors," he said.

Chhabria said EximStar had put a price tag of 400,000 Euros on the Mercedes S-500 and 300,000 Euros on the Porsche Cayenne.

"I have seen nothing like it before. . . there is a huge market for custom-built vehicles here," said Vivek Nehlani, an India-born car reseller in Dubai.

To ensure that similar responses keep coming and to maintain product exclusivity, Chhabria said he would continue to be involved in high-value projects.

"I will be personally involved in the development. . . but we also have a growing teaching. If there is work to be done on a display van. I need not be involved. The team can do it," he said.

While re-designed vehicles are high on looks, Chhabria said they were also superior in performance and safety.

"There is certainly no trade-off in safety," he said, assuring potential customers that highest care went into the making of these very special cars.

He said DC Design, the only credible custom-built carmaker in India, hopes that there would always be a market for those offering something new to the customer.

Though the joint venture claims that there is no competition to it in terms of pricing and quality offered, it remains to be seen whether DC Star would be able to stand up to competition from global deisgners like Brabus, Rijck and Fab Design.

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