Hours after the Abu Dhabi Investment Council announced it is negotiating an $800 million deal for a 75 percent stake in the landmark Chrysler Building in midtown Manhattan, Chrysler revealed plans to buy the Packard Garage in downtown Abu Dhabi and it’s main tenant — the Arabian Daze Electric Camel Company. The price was not disclosed, but a reporter in Abu Dhabi recalls seeing a For Sale sign in the window yesterday that said, “$3500 or two courtside tickets to the NBA Finals.” While Chrysler no longer owns the Chrysler Building, the move is seen as a symbolic retaliation for high Middle East oil prices which have hurt sales of the company’s cars and trucks and brought the value CEO’s golden parachute down to $250 million.
“This gives Chrysler an energy-efficient vehicle to compete with the foreign hybrids,” said Jake Westy, Chrysler’s Director of Finding Energy-Efficient Vehicles to Compete With The Foreign Hybrids. While electric camels have never been available in the U.S., they’re almost as rare in Abu Dhabi, a city where oil tycoons use Bentleys as dune buggies. “The electric camel is not just a golf cart with a water cooler,” said Westy. “It’s a golf cart with a water cooler and a DVD player.” The 2-seat electric camels, which will be called the Firehump in the U.S., have a top speed of 35 miles-per-hour in the city and 70 MPH when caught in the grille of a semi. Firehumps are expected to begin arriving in Chrysler showrooms in late 2008, once they have been fitted with safety glass, safety bumpers and passenger-side defibrillators. Automotive industry experts see Chrysler’s purchase of Arabian Daze and the electric camels as a desperation move to avoid being the subject of a Michael Moore documentary on global warming.