Sun | Mar 29, 2020

KIG discounts Jeep for tourist market

Published:Wednesday | May 25, 2016 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham

Jamaica's oldest car dealership, Kingston Industrial Garage (KIG), is targeting the tourism market for new business through a discount programme for Jeep sales pitched at car rental companies, tour operators and villa owners.

It is part of a regional sales programme rolled out by the regional master dealer for Jeep, Interamericana Trading Corporation.

KIG believes that the offer of a bargain price will gain traction, based on the sales racked up at an auto show last year when the dealer sold around 20 units of one Jeep model, compared to the three or four it normally sold in previous years.

KIG managing director, Jeffery Panton, says his company, having studied the market, feels that by the honing in on visitors who might want to experience the more adventurous side of Jamaica, the tourism sector can drive up Jeep sales.

"Most rent-a-car companies, if not all, have enclosed four-door sedans that they rent out and that is what they have stuck to over the years. This affords the opportunity for that tour operator or rent-a-car company to now offer another product that is more in line with Caribbean lifestyle and would have more appeal to tourists that are coming to the island, and in so doing they can actually charge a premium for that sort of service," Panton said.

KIG aims to grow Jeep sales by 25 per cent this year, but did not say how many units that would amount to. Regional manager of the Interamericana Trading Corporation, Jeremy Hart, said, and Panton concurred that the Jeep Wrangler has exceeded expectations.

Hart reported to a specially invited group in Kingston that the Jeep wrangler was the most photographed vehicle at the 2015 Automobile Dealers Association motor show and sold 20 units in Jamaica in less than a year.

Jeep already sells well in other tourist markets, according to the Interamericana regional manager.

"Our top three markets are Cayman, Aruba and Tortola. They may be the smallest in size, but between the three of them, they do a 100-plus units per year, and so every year they're changing their fleet," Hart said, noting that his company wants to replicate that performance in Jamaica.




In addition to the Wrangler, KIG offers the Jeep Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee; the Renegade, which targets the off-roading market; and the Compass, Liberty and Pilot are aimed at the budget-minded.

Under the new sales programme, which runs to December 2016, KIG Marketing Manager Judy Denton says tourism industry players who purchase the Jeep Wrangler can get up to four vehicles at $7.1 million each. This is $1.2 million less than the $8.3 million that regular customers pay.

The vehicles are right-hand drive, but left-hand drive units are available at a starting price of $6.9 million. There is a three-month waiting period between order and delivery.

Panton says the response so far has been positive.

"We've had quite a few enquiries from tour operators and private villas for quotations. We're looking to supply, the specifications they require and they are looking to outfit their businesses with it for sure," he said.