BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor — Auto and Entertainment email@example.com
TWELVE months after officially breaking ground for construction, workmen are applying the finishing touches to ATL Automotive's Volkswagen and Audi showrooms in New Kingston, St Andrew.
"We'll be ready to welcome Volkwagen customers on February 18 while the showroom for Audi will be opened on March 4," said Adam Stewart — CEO of the ATL Group and Sandals Resort.
"We want everybody to come and see the sort of investment that we have put into this location," he said.
Valued at US$13.5 million, the project is the largest single investment in Jamaica's automotive history and is located on the former Mas Camp site.
Each two-storey showroom is 8,000 sq ft and will accommodate eight cars.
"That's how committed we are to the auto industry and Jamaica," he told Auto, while on a tour of the Oxford Road complex yesterday.
Stewart, son of hotel mogul Gordon 'Butch' Stewart, said an additional four master technicians would soon be employed to ensure excellent after-sales service.
"The purchase of the your car is the beginning of your relationship with this company and we take that seriously," he said.
In January 2012, ground was officially broken for the construction of the Volkswagen and Audi showrooms in the island's financial district.
At the ground-breaking ceremony, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller lauded the Stewarts for their investments and declared it a demonstration of the private sector's confidence in Jamaica. At that time, she said projects of that kind could greatly help the country to overcome its economic hurdles.
"We can overcome the economic challenges if the Government and the private sector work together constructively," the prime minister had said.
The automotive giant is already making plans to build another state-of-the-art showroom on the complex for its Jaguar/Land Rover brands.
According to Stewart, a highlight of the showroom will be the signature Land Rover rock-test track, which will surround the Oxford Road dealership.
"We're just finalising the designs for the Jaguar/Land Rover building which will also have a 4x4 rock test track, the first of its kind in the region," he told Auto.
The obstacle course-like track is to be about 350 feet in length. The construction is due to begin in the first quarter of 2014.