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Tue 19 Mar 2019 12:12 PM

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W Motors 'ignored' Universal Studios at first over $3.4m car in Furious 7

CEO Ralph Debbas says Dubai car manufacturer was paid by the US firm to feature 10 units of the Lykan Hypersport in the 2015 action film

W Motors 'ignored' Universal Studios at first over $3.4m car in Furious 7
The Lykan Hypersport is the first sports car designed and produced in the Middle East.

Dubai-based car manufacturer W Motors “ignored” production house Universal Studios for six months after the US firm contacted the Middle East company to feature its $3.4 million Lykan Hypersport in the studio’s 2015 action film Furious 7, according to the founder and CEO of W Motors.

Speaking to Arabian Business, Ralph R. Debbas said he was unaware that the request for the Lykan Hypersport had come from Universal Studios as they had not identified themselves.

“We were ignoring [Universal Studios] for six months because we didn’t know it was them. They were sending emails and information about having the car in the movie but they never said who they were. They just requested the car,” he said.

“Six months later we get a call from [media zone] twofour54 in Abu Dhabi and they tell us they’ve been working with Universal [Studios] for the past year or two to make Furious 7 in Abu Dhabi and that’s how we got in touch with universal,” Debbas added.

He shut down product placement rumours and said the production company paid W Motors “a lot of money” to produce 10 cars for the seventh film of The Fast and the Furious franchise.

“People thought it was a product placement from W Motors. It was not a product placement. They came to us, they approached us and they paid us to be in the movie, which is unheard of,” he said.

“We got paid the licence fee and we signed with them a lifetime royalty licence that for the rest of eternity, we get paid - every quarter - a percentage on sales that have anything to do with our car in Fast and Furious, so caps, toys, t-shirts… That also generates interesting income for the company,” Debbas added.

Ramped up production

While a single Lykan Hypersport car takes between eight to 10 months to make, W Motors made 10 units in just eight weeks to meet the Furious 7 deadline.

“We made 10 in eight weeks. So we had three shifts working 24 hours a day and we doubled the workforce,” Debbas said.

The Lykan Hypersport is the first sports car designed and produced in the Middle East. It was also the third most expensive production car at the time in 2013 at $3.4m, and the first to have headlights with embedded jewels (420 diamonds with 15 carats) as well as a holographic display system on the centre console, boasting interactive motion features. Abu Dhabi police purchased a Lykan Hypersport in 2015.

As for W Motors, it was founded in 2012 as the first Middle East-based developer of high-performance luxury sports cars.

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