October 2017

Saudi Arabia to allow women drivers

Let me start by announcing that you are checking out ArabWheels' 150th issue - aren't you lucky? We have displayed all of ArabWheels issues from the start until now so you can have a look and see how the magazine has evolved.

This is the story that we have been waiting for and it is finally hereā€¦

Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world that forbids women from driving vehicles, will soon lift the controversial ban - a move that has been welcomed by human rights groups around the world. A decree was issued by Saudi Arabia's King Salman. The royal order will come into effect on June 24, 2018, and a ministerial body will be implemented to give advice within 30 days. Prince Khaled bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's US ambassador, said women will be able to obtain a driving license without male permission, and will be able to drive anywhere they like.

He called the move "historic," adding that it was "the right decision at the right time." It comes after years of campaigning by rights groups to win the right for women in Saudi Arabia to drive. Over the years some women have been imprisoned for defying the rule, which led to many families having to employ private drivers to help transport female relatives. In fact, there are an estimated 800,000 imported chauffeurs currently transporting women around the country, according to BBC correspondent, Frank Gardner. The decree, he said, is in line with Saudi Vision 2030, promoted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, to modernize the kingdom's society and align it closer with the rest of the world.

What do we have in the October issue?
First of all, we feature a small preview of the Dubai International Motor Show that will take place next month from November 14th to the 18th. We also covered the Frankfurt Motor Show and chose the best of the best production and concept debuts.

Our Cover Story has been divided in two. In the first half we feature the all-new Chevrolet Equinox (which used to be named Captiva in the Middle East) driven by Ershad in Oman. The second half has been dedicated to the Range Rover. Yes Range Rover, but not the stock one - the one with the SVO Design Pack (directly from the Special Vehicle Operation factory). Feast your eyes!

In our Editors' Choice section we drove many vehicles back in Beirut over the summer. We drove the Chevy Trailblazer Z71, the new Mazda CX-5, the Infiniti QX60, and the first, somehow proper SUV by Geely, the Emgrand X7 Sport. As usual, this is the section where you might choose the next car that will end up in your garage.

We interview Jaguar's Global Product director to give us some insights on the recent launch of their baby SUV, E-PACE.

I will see you next month at the Dubai Motor Show and don't forget to follow us via our social media channel. The last two remaining months of the year will be exciting!

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