Business

Kia's power to surprise

ATL Automotive banks on winning formula for Kia Jamaica

BY CHERRIES WILES
Observer writer
wilesc@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

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Leading local car dealership, ATL Automotive is looking to make Kia the number one car brand in Jamaica in the next five years — a goal which the company hopes to attain by combining the reliability, award-winning design, modern technology, and affordability of the brand with its expertly trained specialists, exceptional after -sales support, and readily accessible service stations and car parts.

When the Jamaica Observer visited the state-of-the-art, Kia “Red Cube” showroom on Oxford Road last Wednesday, group sales and marketing director for ATL Automotive Group, Stephen Hector, admitted that the Kia brand was dormant in Jamaica at the moment, particularly because it was not marketed well.

“If you go anywhere in the world and you stand at the same spot, you will see hundreds of Kias passing you, but you don't see that in Jamaica, at least not now; but you certainly will.... We're sorta rebranding Kia to the Jamaican market,” he said.

In March, the automotive giant became the exclusive local distributor of Kia with high hopes of replicating the success it has had with Honda, which enjoys some of the largest market shares in the world.

“The thing about Kia is that it's like a success story because it's such a fast- growing brand globally,” Hector said. “It's one of the fastest-growing car brands in the world. But one of the real catalysts for the brand doing so well is how good they started to look because they have Peter Schreyer, who was the designer for Audi, the AudiTT, and the Volkswagen New Beetle. It's changed the dynamic. That's the thing about Kia: it's slogan is the power to surprise... It has been a Best Global Brand for six years in a row and if you want reliability, look no further,” Hector said.

“For the fourth-consecutive year Kia was recognised as the number one non-premium brand by JD Power in the 2018 Initial Quality Study. This is the survey that measures the amount of problems experienced in the first 90 days of ownership, and Kias are winning it over everybody, over every car brand,” he added.

Under its newly created subdivision, dubbed ATL Tiger Automotive, the company carries a diverse range of Kias, including the micro hatchback Picanto; the Rio, Cerato, Optima, and Stinger sedans; the Soul; the Sportage and Sorento SUVs; the Carnival minivan; and the K-Truck pickup.

“That's where Kia comes in. There is a wide spectrum of models available to fit any person or lifestyle,” Hector said.

Asked about the price of the vehicles, he said, “you'll never find better value, dollar for dollar. It is the best value you can get in Jamaica, there's no question. Ninety-five per cent of cars in Jamaica are bought on finance, so realistically speaking, someone can own the micro hatchback Picanto for less than a thousand dollars a day, which you may spend on bus or taxis. So for under $31,000 a month you can own a brand new car straight out of the factory [with] five-year warranty, new car smell... You can finance with a 100 per cent finance, so in reality you can walk in with no money in your pocket and drive away with a car in your name, with a full tank of fuel, and pay at a very affordable monthly rate,” he said.

“Our car market is like seven -and-a-half thousand new cars a year. The used-car market might be three or four times that. So people are importing cars, and buying second-hand cars and things like that. But where Kia comes in is that you can buy a brand new car, which comes with five-year warranty... So the question is: why then would you buy a used car when you can buy a new car with manufacturer's warranty, roadside assistance and service packages?” he continued, adding that customers would have the benefit of having their vehicles serviced in-house at the main facility on Oxford Road, as well as in Montego Bay at the ATL Automotive Group Service Centre in Bogue, less than a mile away from its showroom within the Fairview complex.

Commenting on ATL's after-sales support, Hector said, “We've got dedicated ramps and facilities at our existing Oxford Road headquarters and also in Bogue, Montego Bay; and what's more, we have the personnel and tools to keep your investment running the way it was intended to. In terms of parts, like all of our brands, we hold a huge stock of parts at all times and we have forged a partnership with Kia's exclusive parts facility in Miami, Florida, to ensure we have all the parts our customers need, when they need them. Parts are just hours away.”

In addition to Kia, ATL Automotive is the authorised dealer for six of the world's leading motor vehicle brands — Honda, Audi, BMW, Prosche, MINI, and Volkswagen.

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