New car hub above Cross Roads
Close to two weeks ago, Magna Motors Dealership Ltd opened its new showroom at 27 Old Hope Road, St Andrew. The location has a long-standing connection with the automobile business, as a gas station was once there.
Physically, the Hyundai motor vehicles which Magna has on display are very close to those from another dealer. Orchard Road - which is not very wide - separates the Hyundai dealership from the Fords, Subarus and Jeeps which KIG has on display at its showroom. Opened in October last year, the KIG showroom adds to its well-known Spanish Town Road location. Magna has a Hyundai service centre on Balmoral Avenue, St Andrew.
There was once another motor vehicle brand associated with the space KIG now occupies, as it was a Volvo showroom.
Close to the automotive newcomers in this section of the city is a dealership which has been in the area a little bit longer. The ATL Autohaus at 3 Oxford Road was opened in 2013 and passers-by can gawk at German luxury brands outside, at a place that was once the Mas Camp entertainment venue.
Taken together, it is a high concentration of new-car dealers in a small space at the edge of New Kingston, with Cross Roads not far away. And it could have been more, as Stewart's Auto Sales, which handles Suzuki and Mitsubishi, among other brands, once had a stronger presence at the end of Orchard Road before relocating to South Camp Road in 2012. Ironically, Stewart's moved its base because of space constraints. They had been at Orchard Road since 1987, after moving from Hanover Street in downtown Kingston. Speaking to Automotives about the Orchard Road location at the time of the move, Jacqueline Stewart Lechler said, "It served us well, but we were having a little difficulty where the road was congested with parking. We couldn't serve our customers."
While the number of motor vehicle dealers in the Oxford Road/Old Hope Road area is far fewer than the used-car dealers along Hagley Park Road, it is still a high concentration of new-car sales options above the unofficial Cross Roads line demarcating uptown from downtown.
It is also a significant amount of spending in a concentrated area. ATL's investment was reported at US$13 million, while Magna has put US$500,000 into its new facility. KIG shared $60 million into its Old Hope Road showroom and renovation of its long-standing 381 Spanish Town Road base.
The new showroom is expected to pay off handsomely, KIG's confidence indicating the importance of the location. In a previous interview with The Gleaner, Judith Denton of KIG said the Old Hope Road showroom is projected to add 18 per cent to KIG's bottom line next year.
The ATL Oxford Road facility is expected to eventually go beyond motor vehicles for an organisation which is heavily into the hospitality sector, as it was previously suggested that a hotel be constructed in the same area.