Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Billionaires and Their Blingmobiles; Middle Eastern Drivers Ship in Supercars Just for the Summer

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Billionaires and Their Blingmobiles; Middle Eastern Drivers Ship in Supercars Just for the Summer

Article excerpt

Byline: Sri Carmichael Consumer Affairs Reporter

NICKNAMED the "billionaire blingmobiles", a growing numbers of socalled supercars are being spotted in London this summer, amid an influx of shoppers from the Middle East.

Motor industry experts say that the flash, custom-painted sports cars parked -- sometimes illegally -- outside the capital's most expensive shops, restaurants and hotels are a sign of confidence that London's economy is bouncing back.

The number plates of these status symbols are often from Arab states. Wealthy businessmen from Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are flocking to the capital with their families to network, shop and escape the searing heat back home. And they are shipping their cars over with them for the few weeks they are here.

Two baby blue racing cars owned by members of the Qatari royal family -- a [pounds sterling]1.2million Koenigsegg CCXR and a [pounds sterling]280,000 Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce -- were clamped outside Harrods last week.

A [pounds sterling]1million-plus Bugatti Veyron and a [pounds sterling]500,000 Mercedes Benz McLaren SLR, both chrome-finished and with Middle Eastern plates, were spotted outside the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge last night. A spokeswoman for Lamborghini said: "The increase in cars with Arab plates reflects the fact Arab businessmen are very international people and like to bring their cars with them when they travel. …

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