Chad Bryan, Gleaner Writer
Two new car brands which entered the Jamaican market after other brands were well established have been putting their best rides forward in showroom - strategies which seem to be paying strong dividends.
Glistening decorative tiles, aesthetically designed Hyundai motor vehicles, a plush sofa and warm customer service are the key elements that will characterise a customer's visit to the one-month-old Key Motors showroom at Shop One, Tropical Plaza, Constant Spring Road, St Andrew.
It seems unlikely that a showroom would be in a densely populated shopping mall but, according to automotive sales consultant for the showroom, Stephen Thompson, the location was strategically chosen.
"This area is an area of high walking traffic. Some dealers have various showrooms scattered around Kingston and other locations. Key Motors decided upon this location as we believed it to be the most popular plaza in Kingston which has excellent exposure and high-quality retail goods," Thompson said.
When Automotives visited last week, the showroom had four vehicles on display - the Elantra, the Accent Blue, I-40 and Santa Fe.
The I-40 and Accent Blue were scheduled to be sold in short order. Outside, thanks to the support of the management and staff of the Tropical Plaza, three additional parking spaces were allocated with the Tuscon, Elantra and Sonata nestled there.
Thompson explained that more vehicles would become available at the showroom as the need arises.
"We offer a wide range of vehicles - the sedan, small sedan, mid-size SUV and SUVs, among others. The showroom is reorganised regularly as vehicles are sold," he said. The GPS system being offered at the Hagley Park Road division will soon also be offered at Tropical Plaza.
The automobiles are not the only offerings at the showroom. There are bags, pens, umbrellas and other branded items on sale.
Serious potential buyers are treated in fine style, being offered white and red wine, coffee, cocktail patties and cupcakes from the Kingston Corner Café, located inside the showroom - a first, it is claimed.
Kia Motors Jamaica Limited's eight-year-old showroom at 2 Chelsea Avenue, St Andrew, which features prominently in the sale of its vehicles, is constantly being redesigned to meet the needs of the customers. New models are added and the design changes are intended to leave customers in awe.
For 2013, marketing manager at Kia Motors Jamaica Limited, Seitu Foster, noted, "Kia is looking to expand into Mandeville and Montego Bay and we're also looking at additional things to get involved in. Kia has internationally sponsored the NBA, the US Open and the surfing championships, and we're continuing on a similar trend in Jamaica".
Kia Motors Jamaica Limited is boasting tremendous growth and performance this year and is expecting even greater success for the upcoming year, said Foster.
"The company has seen massive growth and is moving forward. The brand is growing fast and extremely well. Last year, however, we have gained more than the seven years prior," he explained. "Internationally, Kia has moved into the top five in terms of safety and sales, and numerous reviews have placed the brand at number one."
Foster was also quick to point out that 50 per cent of the Kia vehicles yet to arrive in the island in January and March have already received downpayments. He said that many persons have taken a liking to the Kia Sorento.
Thompson is also noting that Hyundai did well and expects the same level of performance in the upcoming year.
"Hyundai did very well this year. It is the fourth-largest auto manufacturer in the world and one of the youngest. The rate of growth has been phenomenal. Our best seller now is the Tuscon," Thompson noted.
"In the new year, we're expecting more sales. When we reach a point where two to three vehicles have been sold from shipment before they arrive, then that's promising. We are looking to expand to other areas but we're not putting a timeline to that.."