HAUTE DUBAI Magazine / Motoring /
CEO and Founder of W Motors
on the Lykan Hypersport
Haute Dubai: As the founder of W Motors, the pioneer Arab car maker to create luxury sports cars, what’s it like to be making history and taking this first step?
Ralph Debbas: As Walt Disney once said, “All dreams can come true, if you have the courage to pursue them…” it is not easy to pursue a passion and a dream for so long, knowing deep inside that someday it will lead to something big. Today this dream has become a reality and the feeling that can best describe this big first step is pride. Not only am I proud to be making history, but also proud to be sharing this with the world and the Arab nations. What was once my dream, became the dream of thousands around the region who are supporting W Motors with passion.
HD: How did the Name “W Motors” come about?
RD: As a child, I was nicknamed “Wolf” as some couldn’t pronounce my name “Ralph”. This nickname has always followed me ever since my youngest age as I found out later that Ralph actually means the Wolf Leader in German. My love grew for this animal, which is beautiful, aggressive, smart and so rare. It was simply natural to name the brand W Motors, standing for “Wolf “Motors.
HD: The Lykan Hyper Sport Looks incredible, can you tell us how the design came together and how much personalization can be fit into it?
RD: The design of the Lykan Hyper Sport is actually inspired by the Wolf, thus its name the Lykan (the most advanced species of Werewolves). I initially started imagining what the Lykan would look like many years ago. The more the project evolved, the more the design evolved with it. Our design director Anthony Jannarelly, had a big hand in the design of this beautiful beast, as he was able to understand my vision and original design, complementing it with his touch of creativity and talent. Keeping in mind that we were designing a car that is ready to go for production and following all the international rules and regulations of safety and homologation, which was a very tough task when wanting to keep an aggressive and modern design. The Lykan can be fully customizable with endless combinations of colors, materials, precious stones and metals.
HD: Since part of the engineering and design of the W Lykan was done in Italy, was there much Arab talent involved in the development and production of the W Lykan Hyper Sport? To what scale was this involvement?
RD: The design and development of the Lykan was fully made in-house at W Motors in Lebanon along with the basic engineering studies. The company was created by Arabs (Myself and partner Mr. El Khalil) along with my close friends whom I met in England and decided to move to Lebanon and join the W Motors team to develop the Lykan. To create such a gigantic project in a land and region that has no experience in the automotive manufacturing industry before was very risky, especially when my goal wasn’t to create a car and local brand only, but to create an international hypercar, brand and name with an aim to become an icon in the automotive world. The help of big global companies was required to make sure that the Lykan is produced following international regulations and that we are actually building and developing a world class machine with names and companies who have years of experience in this field.
RD: It was natural to set our facility in Italy to be close to our suppliers, consultants and partners at first. Making sure that we gain the experience and exposure we needed to launch the Lykan with confidence.With our new offices relocated to Downtown Dubai, we have plans to relocate the production facility to the region within the coming years.
HD: Apart from the Lykan, how often are we going to see new innovations from W Motors?
The Lykan is our first model going in the Hyper Sport category and only produced to 7 units worldwide. A second model going in the Super Sport category will be launched by the end of this year with a different DNA and produced to 25 units worldwide. Another limited edition Hyper Sport will also come the following year. We have many plans for W Motors and the region.
HD: What was the biggest challenge in the making of the Lykan Hyper Sport?
RD: The challenges are huge and the risks are bigger. When you have a dream, a plan, a passion… nothing is impossible. The biggest challenge was to have people believe in your dream, trying to prove that it can become a reality. Then of course comes the technical side of production, funding and time.
HD: How many Lykans are actually made to date, why is the number limited to 7, and do you intend to make more?
RD: The production of the Lykan just started at the beginning of this year 2013 with the first deliveries scheduled to start in November 2013. We are limiting our production to 7 units worldwide to make it the most exclusive car in the world (less than 10) the number 7 was chosen as it represents the Seven Wonders of the World, the seven continents, the seven days of the week… also the number 7 has the V shape in Arabic. The Arabic 7 was used in several parts of the Lykan as styling cues (the wheels, front lights, back blades, roof and sides) in a very subtle and elegant way.
HD: Recent news says you have received more than 100 orders for the Lykan Hyper Sport after its lunch, does that mean that the 7 copies of the car are already sold out? If so how were the owners of the exclusive driving machine chosen?
RD: It is not true that 100 orders were received for the Lykan. We received a lot of interested buyers at the Motor Show but cannot disclose the exact number of cars sold. Once the down payment is received, the car is yours! Of course we are hoping that all 7 owners of the Lykan are Arabs as this car is to be remembered for many years to come as the First Arabian Hypercar.
HD: With this great success, do you have plans to go into mass production?
RD: Mass production is not in our plans. We have several models coming out in the coming years all of which are limited production units to keep the exclusive label of W Motors as the most prestigious automotive brand on the market, aimed for the Elite clientele. At W Motors we have many plans to expand into several sectors of the automotive industry such as technology research centers and automotive design schools which will make the Middle East a new hub for the automotive industry.
HD: Considering your main market is the Middle East, how do you compete with strongly established high-performance Hypercar makers such as Pagani, Koenigsegg and Gumpert?
RD: We are not trying to compete with anyone; on the contrary, I admire and have great respect to all manufacturers and brands that have been around for so many years. Without their influence, W Motors would have never seen the day. Since its first conception W Motors’ aim was to create a product that can be perceived as a Work of Art or a jewel. Our clients are people who already have a collection of Supercars and Hypercars but are still looking for something even more exclusive and different.
Pagani, Koenigseg , Gumpert or Bugatti are all in the same race to build the fastest and most powerful machine in the world. At W Motors we are not building the fastest car in the world, but simply offering a new vision of Hypercars, a car that offers never-seen-before technologies, a car that is born with luxury within, a car that is so beautiful and rare that it becomes and icon in this industry. The Lykan is something else; it is simply out of this world.