CEO and Chairman of W Motors
As a newcomer to the ultra-luxury supercar segment, W Motors pulled out all the stops with its firstborn, the Lykan HyperSport, in 2013. The Arab world’s inaugural automobile went from idea to prototype in less than five years, and had a superlative spec sheet. Its features included diamond-encrusted headlights and a holographic infotainment control system that responded to gestures. The Fenyr SuperSport was its second and more was to follow, including an SUV and a sedan. Hyperbolic first impressions notwithstanding, its Lebanese CEO and Chairman Ralph Debbas’ vision for the Lykan, and his brand as a whole, is to be the last word in excellence, not excess.
On the Lykan brand
The Lykan is all about luxury, not just in what we put into it, but with the concierge service that it comes with for example. It is a collectors’ item first and a performance machine second. It was never built to compete with other cars, it sits in a segment by itself. Our clientele are automotive connoisseurs; when they sit in the Lykan and turn on the engine they automatically form a connection with the car. Take the keys, go for a drive, and you will definitely understand.
On the Lykan philosophy
On top of that, The National Automobile Museum in Turin has certified the Lykan as a collector’s item, due to its extremely limited run. It was not very difficult to find seven people who know and understand cars, to put down money for the US$3million-plus price tag. These people were predominantly from the United States and China, between their late thirties and early forties, self-made men with a net worth of at least two to three billion dollars. The Lykan will join their collections, which ranges between 50 to 100 vehicles. We’re delivering the first car in a few months, which is going to be quite exciting.
On W Motors
I look at W Motors as more of a family, not so much a company. Because of that, we like to see our family and W Motors grow and become greater. Most of the team here in Dubai are people we reached out to them due to the fact they did something related to W Motors. For instance, my head of marketing and communications did a blog post about W Motors in Monaco and we got in touch because we thought the way he wrote about us was very interesting. In the design department, one of our new team members did his Masters project on a proposed W Motors SUV.
On creating a motoring brand from scratch
Many people wonder how the hell it was possible to create an automotive brand from the ground up in the 21st century. We are new and young, so getting multinational companies to come on board with us was not easy. But once we got the confidence of one, that opened the floodgates and they began to trust us. This was definitely helped by our commitment to the highest standards in design and engineering.
On creating a revolution
When I say we plan to spark an automotive industry, I mean everything. Education, design, engineering, manufacture, and assembly under the W Industries umbrella, with a school for automotive design, production facilities and a technology centre. This will be the first time in history that an automotive designer is a graduate from the Middle East.
On the future
I don’t see myself doing anything other than what I’m doing today. W Motors, and later W Industries, is exactly what I’ll be doing for the next fifty to sixty years, if I’m still alive. Maybe my son will take over as well, which will take us into the next 100 years. Hopefully it will pass down from generation to generation with a name that’s going to stay for many years to come.