Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Hyundai adds to Kingston presence

Published:Sunday | May 1, 2016 | 5:00 AMMel Cooke
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett tries out the new Sonata.
A Hyundai Sonata sedan inside the brand's new showroom at 27 Old Hope Road, St Andrew, which was officially opened on Wednesday.
Taewon Choi (left), deputy general manager, Central and South America Regional Headquarters, Hyundai Motor Company (left), and Agustin Lama, board director of Magna.
A Hyundai Veloster is a great conversation piece outside the new Hyundain showroom at 27 Old Hope Road, St Andrew, during its official opening on Wednesday evening.
Juan Vargas, managing director of Magna Jamaica.
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In matters of real estate, a corner lot is prized property, and on Wednesday night, Magna Motors Dealership Jamaica Limited used the L-shaped frontage of its new premises to good effect.

So a Hyundai Santa Fe and Hyundai Creta were on the Old Hope Road section of the sidewalk outside the 27 Old Hope Road showroom, the white SUVs gleaming in the street lights, headlights of passing cars and illumination from inside the building coming through expanses of glass. On the Orchard Road side, where guests for the opening entered the building, a Veloster hatchback represented for Hyundai's sporty side. For good measure, Hyundai H-1 multi-seater shuttles arrived at and departed from the entrance regularly.

Inside, pride of place went to a Hyundai Sonata sedan on the showroom floor, Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett taking hold of its steering wheel after the formalities were over. During his official address, though, Bartlett linked the increasing Hyundai presence in Jamaica to steering brand Jamaica into profitable directions.

BRAND JAMAICA

Bartlett said, "The entry of Magna Motors into the Jamaican market is indicative of the success that is brand Jamaica. It's our country's ability become even more relevant in the global marketplace in a push to boost trade, attract investments and other international opportunities."

He made the connection between Hyundai's international stature and avenues it will open up for Jamaicans.

"Hyundai is the fourth-largest car manufacturer in the world, and the sizable investment by Magna Motors has helped to drive employment and training opportunities for Jamaicans, with the state-of-the-art service centre which they opened last year and now this contemporary showroom," Bartlett said.

Magna Motors already operates a Hyundai facility on Balmoral Avenue, off Half-Way Tree Road.

Magna's managing director, Juan Vargas, said, when that location was established, "we showed then that we mean business ... . This evening, our showroom launch is another indicator of our commitment to Jamaica. We have invested US$10 million since entering the local market last August, and we plan to double that figure by the end of 2017."

Vargas connected the new showroom's design to the company's general approach, saying, "The entire design of this showroom reflects simplicity, perfection and the laserlike precision which has engineered our standards globally. We will complement those values with top-class service from the moment you step through our doors, through to after-sales checks to allow our customers to experience the true meaning and emotional elegance at an affordable cost."

The Hyundai badging was unveiled on stage to the maxim, "modern premium".

The launch was not without dissent being staged. Peaceful, quiet demonstrators holding professionally prepared white placards with red, block capital writing stood outside the showroom as the police kept an eye.

Some of the messages were 'Boycott Hyundai', 'Boycott all goods from Dom Rep', 'Magna Must Leave Jamaica' and 'Calling on Prime Minister Andrew Holness'. On Old Hope Road, across the road from the new Hyundai showroom, two banners identified organisations the protesters were connected with as the Universal African Improvement Association and Community League, Paul Bogle Division and The Paul Bogle Foundation, subtitled the 150th Anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion.