ATL critical to BMW’s future

BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor Auto & Entertainment bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, December 09, 2016

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DR Alexander Werner Wehr, CEO of BMW and MINI for Latin America and the Caribbean, said he is pleased to be partnering with the Adam Stewart-led ATL Automotive as it will play an integral role in the luxury brands’ future in the region.


Wehr — speaking exclusively with the Jamaica Observer’s Auto magazine at the launch of the new MINI Cooper S Countryman, held at Casona Juarez in Mexico City, Mexico, recently — described the association as "a very good match".


"It’s a very good match and fit to the ambition and leadership of our brand. We are happy to have such a professional group, which places such a great emphasis on customer attention, being part of our dealer network," he said.


"From Jamaica we’re running a regional hub for the English-speaking Caribbean. It’s gonna be fully integrated not only with regards to our operations, but also our language, culture and integration," Wehr continued.


In February, ATL Automotive opened Autobahn — its BMW and MINI division — at a temporary facility on Orchard Road in Kingston. Ground-breaking for the new showroom is slated to be in December at 33 Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew, while construction is slated to be finished in December 2017.


Under ATL Automotive’s terms of acquisition, Autobahn will serve as a central hub to include the distribution of cars, parts and service support in Jamaica. The company will also assume the role of master dealer for the Caribbean region in an additional eight other countries: Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Barbados, Aruba, St Lucia, and Suriname.


At that opening, Stewart — CEO for Sandals Resorts International as well as ATL Group of companies — highlighted the historical significance of the acquisition.


"Representing them (BMW and MINI) is a major achievement not only for ATL Automotive. It demonstrates the strength of Jamaican leadership ... it’s the first time that a Jamaican entity has stepped into a regional role as a master dealer for an automotive brand, particularly a global automotive brand," said Stewart.


"The brand was recently voted one of the top 10 in the world. It’s a brand Jamaica and the Caribbean loves. For us, it’s a humbling experience to be afforded the ability to represent them and we’re privileged that BMW felt we’re the right business to carry the brand forward," he continued.


Wehr said construction on a one-billion-euro, 300-acre plant began in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, in June and is scheduled to be completed in 2019. He said the plant would supply Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.


"We will be building 3 Series, which is our blockbuster, so to say ... Once up and running, this will not only be the most efficient and technologically advanced plant, but the most sustainable.


"This plant will dispose of the old energy systems... solar panels will generate all energy it takes. It will be completely CO2-free and ... will be the most advanced sustainable plant we have in our production at work," he said.


And for ATL’s Automotive’s role?


"We’ve always talked about Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean because it is our ambition as a global premium brand to attend to every customer in the same way, in a premium way, and we think ATL is the right partner for us in the Caribbean," Wehr added.

 

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