Sun | May 19, 2019

Stewart's Automotive Group moves warehouse to Allman Town - promising jobs for residents

Published:Tuesday | January 8, 2019 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Duncan Stewart (second right), managing director of Stewart’s Auto Sales, cuts the ribbon for the opening of Stewart’s Automotive Group’s new bonded warehouse on Arnold Road in Kingston. Sharing in the moment are (from left) Jackie Stewart Lechler, director at Stewart’s Automotive Group; Nashwell Thomas, manager, Jamaica Customs Agency; Velma Ricketts Walker, commissioner of Customs; and Diana Stewart, chairman, Stewart’s Automotive Group.
Vehicles on the lot at Stewart’s Automotive Group’s new bonded warehouse on Arnold Road in Kingston.
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Employment now beckons for residents living in and around Allman Town in Kingston, following yesterday's commissioning of Stewart's Automotive Group's bonded warehouse in the community.

Located at 10 Arnold Road, the warehouse will store much of Stewart's regular stock, as well as high-end vehicles, and is intended to serve as a model by which the company's future motor vehicle businesses will operate.

Duncan Stewart, managing director of Stewart's Auto Sales, said the residents of the community were instrumental in building the warehouse, to whom the company gave commitment that they would be considered for employment whenever the enterprises kick-start.

"This gives us capacity to expand. We are expanding at our Arthur Wint Drive location, so we are losing space. This new property is three acres and is a multi-purpose venue. We will be making announcements of other businesses that will be done here," Stewart told The Gleaner yesterday at the commissioning ceremony.

"One project we have in mind is to build a body shop. We are going to utilise this for growth. In our group, we have Automotive Art, where we import car-related things like tyres, wheels, paints, and so on. Our premium vehicles like the Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover will also be able to be stored under cover."

 

TAX-FREE STORAGE

 

Stewart explained that the entity already has storage facilities that are covered, but it was outgrowing them.

"Our property at Arthur Wint Drive will also have covered storage because we will have a basement to store premium vehicles underground. We are actively looking for new business and will have space here to house them. The focus of our group is not just the selling of cars but also the repair of cars, as well as aftermarket add-ons," he said.

Stewart noted that the Jamaica Customs Agency has been facilitating the operations of the company by allowing it to store vehicles at the automotive company's location tax-free, with the tax applied only when a consumer purchases a vehicle.

"Jamaica has a multitude of tax statuses for businesses and citizenry. Diplomats are tax-free; government concession holders pay a 30 per cent tax. The rent-a-car industry is 30 per cent. The people who pay higher tax pay a range from 60-90 per cent. I think in order for us to efficiently serve this wide range of tax statuses, it is better to keep the vehicles stored tax-free. When we sell a car, we remove it from the bond store at the status of the person buying the car. It allows us to give better customer service," he explained.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com