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Video: ATL on show

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

Friday, March 17, 2017    

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ATL Automotive said it is willing to participate in any event hosted by the new-car umbrella group, Automobile Dealers’ Association of Jamaica (ADA), providing that it is willing to embrace new ideas and the latest trends.

"ATL doesn't want to participate in an old-fashioned auto show which not be able to generate the level of excitement Jamaica deserves. ATL Automotive's REVOLUTION was successful as its format was very refreshing and in keeping with where the auto industry should go – less about hard sells and more about embracing the excitement of cars and a huge lifestyle component. Going forward, I hope the ADA see and appreciate our event’s success and include ATL in a similar format and not exclude us," Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International and ATL Automotive, told Jamaica Observer's Auto magazine yesterday.

REVOLUTION refers to ATL's three-day, free auto show held at its Oxford Road facility in New Kingston last weekend.

"We had a great weekend as we exceeded our target of 5,000 visitors... we got 7,000. A lot of people came out to support – and there was literally something for everyone. There was collaboration between manufacturers and prices, there were huge discounts from the banks and their representatives, and most importantly was the energy and excitement. We’re talking about cars – you can’t have a car event without thrills. There was a big educational aspect; we had seminars which were attended by women who sought solutions for their everyday car challenges as well as the entertainment side of the event. It was more than just the hustle of selling a motor vehicle," said Stewart.


Reggae singer Tarrus Riley, Denyque, and Tosh Alexander entertained the audience in song, while the covers pulled from the Audi R8 Spyder, the MINI Countryman S, Honda Ridgeline and the Honda Pilot.

"The CR-V was the volume leader. Interest in the Ridgeline, Pilot and Civic. There were hot leads for the $35-m Audi R8 Spyder... We're happy there was interest in the car, as our main motivation was to bring the vehicle here for people to touch and see – sure, most aren’t looking to buy one but wow didn’t it take the excitement to new heights?" Stewart said.

In addition to Honda, Audi and MINI, ATL Automotive is the authorised dealer for Porsche, Volkswagen, and BMW.

The CEO said the ADA erred by excluding his company from participating in the four-day ADA-led AutoCircuit auto show also held on the weekend and this is against the ADA charter.

"They'll get a letter from us today ... we've sought an explanation. However, their lawyers seem to be skirting the issue. ATL is one of the largest members of the ADA and a paid up member... The board is not entitled to plan an event without informing us," said Stewart.

The CEO said the ADA had planned an initial show, which his company declined to be part of by letter for a number of reasons.

"That show was last minute, had no title sponsor; no marketing plan; no social media plan, no excitement, no wow factor... and after two-and-a-half years (since the last ADA car show) that's unacceptable – we all, dealers and the Jamaican public, deserve more. At the end of the day, our reputations and those of the brands we represent are all at stake. We wrote a letter to say were not interested in the old, dull format and wanted to move in a new, exciting direction more in keeping with the cars we sell. REVOLUTION’s success supports that decision," Stewart told

Auto.

"We found about the ADA's revamped show in the media and informed them we would be willing to be part of this new format, which mirrored our own concept of having an event at our dealership location. But we were denied. I understand the chairman, Kent LaCroix, is saying he has a letter from us stating that "were not interested in the show" and the fact is that, no, we were not excited about the ADA’s original plans for their auto show. No one was." Stewart continued.

Kent LaCroix, chairman of the 10-dealer ADA, did refer to the letter and said he's always willing to work with ATL Automotive.

"I'm a straight-forward person and I'm always willing to work with ATL," he said. "As for our car show, it was quite a success and we're quite pleased. We're still accessing the results, but we're quite happy."

Last weekend, the ADA also held its show – dubbed AutoCircuit. The participating dealers were: Toyota Jamaica (Toyota and Hino); Fidelity Motors (Nissan); Kingston Industrial Garage (KIG) (Subaru, JEEP, Yamaha, and Ford); Stewart Motors (Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover, Suzuki, and Mitsubishi); and Magna Motors (Hyundai).

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