Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
ATL Autohaus has pumped US$4.25 million into Montego Bay's only new-car high-tech facility at the Bogue City Centre.
As of Monday, Montegonians now have door step access to the world's finest superbrands, namely Audi, Volkswagen, Land Rover, Range Rover, Jaguar and Honda.
The move is in sync with Montego Bay's exponential growth and the need to meet the requests of some 20-25 per cent of the Honda customers who are currently based in the western region. It is estimated that the car market in the west is about 30-35 per cent and growing.
The city is currently home to several used-car dealers, and in the past was a base for John Crook and Northern Industrial Garage.
"The development that has taken place in this region over the past five years and is continuing, leads us to believe that investment in this kind of facility is timely," says dealer principal Andrew Brennan.
During an interview with the Financial Gleaner on Wednesday, Brennan, who has been in the industry for over 25 years, had an ultra-modern showroom as his backdrop; a few chains away, an adjoining complex houses a fully equipped service centre, which also offers 24-hour response "and an assembled team of first-rate technicians", said Brennan.
He added, "All our brands are maintained with the latest available diagnostic equipment." In addition, the company has Europe's youngest master technician for Volkswagen and Audi, Anthony Love, in its employ, to deal with any major technical difficulties. In the meantime, all their local technicians are being trained to the highest international standards, said Brennan.
The company expects to identify a Jaguar and Land Rover master technician by November.
For its sales team, the dealer Principal notes that the company had invested heavily in an IT system to facilitate its sales team in providing unparalleled service.
But selling top-branded cars is only a segment of the services being offered by ATL Autohaus; the presence of the new facilities offers convenience that many of the western Jamaica customers never had before. "Since Monday, we have serviced approximately 15 vehicles for drivers who would have had to travel to Kingston before. We are able to offer the best vehicles and service without the time-consuming and costly exercise of a journey to Kingston. This will be a godsend to the discerning motorist in this area," noted Brennan.
And not only will the existing customers save on time and money, but the dealer principal said that as far as parts are concerned, the brands are being supported with a targeted 'parts pick' ratio of 90 per cent - an investment of US$500,000, which the company says will equate into much-reduced wait for expensive parts to arrive and no downtime on all the brands that are represented.
"In any case, if we don't have the parts, we will special order it," said Brennan.
Transport operators and farmers have not been left out of the loop, and a press release by ATL Autohaus stated that the company is also offering a range of Volkswagen commercial vehicles such as the 'Caravelle', 'Transporter', 'Crafter' and the new, class-leading pickup, the 'Amarok.'
ATL Autohaus is Jamaica's leading automotive distributorship exclusively offering brands such as Audi, Volkswagen, Land Rover, Range Rover, Jaguar and Honda in Kingston and Montego Bay. Some 150 people are employed to the organisation.