ATL’s regional partnership hailed

BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor Auto & Entertainment

Friday, December 16, 2016

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HERNANDO Carvajal, head of sales at BMW Group — Latin America and the Caribbean, said his company’s arrangement with Jamaican automobile dealer ATL Automotive is the first of its kind.

Carvajal was speaking exclusively to the Jamaica Observer’s Auto magazine at the recent launch of the MINI Cooper S Countryman held at the Casona Juarez in Mexico City, Mexico, recently.

"Right now, it’s the first time that we’re trying it and we like what we see so far. It (the model) is something that we can look at for the future," he said.

"So ATL (Automotive) is the importer for the entire English-speaking Caribbean and what they do then is they have the relationship to the ultimate markets, whether its Cayman Islands, whether its the Bahamas, whether its Trinidad. They are the importer for the whole region. They’ll manage a lot of the marketing efforts, a lot of the training efforts, so we have this professionalism spreading throughout the Caribbean," Carvajal continued.

Under the arrangement, ATL Automotive’s 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, and St Lucia.

Autobahn is ATL Automotive’s BMW and MINI division and has been operating at a temporary facility on Orchard Road in Kingston since February. Ground-breaking for a new showroom is slated to be this month at 33 Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew, while the building is earmarked for a year’s construction.

Carvajal said while the association is a new one, he is encouraged by what he has seen so far.

"We definitely see some positive results so far. There are things we are working through, but in general, we are very happy," he said.

The regional head of sales shared plans on the one-billion-euro 300-acre plant, construction of which has begun in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and slated for completion in 2019. Construction started on the facility in June.

"There is tremendous effort going on to train workers to be productive in the plant once it starts, so it does bring in a lot of skills into the region as well... The idea is to have an output of 150,000 cars a year. We’ll be focusing on the 3 series because we have pretty good demand in the region. So, at this point, that is what is being planned for," he said.

Meanwhile, the occasion saw the journalists from 12 Central and South American countries and Jamaica pouring over the new MINI Cooper S Countryman.

The new four-door, five-seater Countryman is more versatile than the previous model and is increased in size by an additional 20 centimetres. The space is distributed throughout the cabin and in the trunk. Also, the generation change is complemented in advances in versatility, sportiveness and premium quality.

The power of the new MINI Countryman is due to two current-generation gasoline engine variants with MINI TwinPower Turbo technology — the first one is powered by a three-cylinder 1499 cc engine reaching 100 kW/136 hp with a maximum of torque 220 Nm; while the four-cylinder 1998 cc engine reaches 141 kW/192 hp, thanks to the maximum torque of 280 Nm. Both engines allow combining this power with maximised efficiency of the ALL4 comprehensive drive system.

The vehicle is slated to arrive in Jamaica in the second quarter of next year.

And, according to Carvajal, he can only expect great things for BMW and MINI brands in the English-speaking Caribbean through the partnership with ATL Automotive.

"We’re very proud seeing this coming together because it has been some long work but I believe we’ll have a better presence in the Caribbean as a result... We’re happy to go with a professional group into the Caribbean, we’re looking to growing there in the future, so you’ll see nice things throughout Jamaica and in the region."


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