Audi eyes region
BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor – Auto & Entertainment firstname.lastname@example.org
MARTIN Port, sales manager – Audi Regional Office in Mexico, said Jamaica plays a critical role for Audi’s success in the region.
His statements came at the unveiling of the 2018 Audi Q5 held at the Hotel Casa Reyna Puebla in Mexico recently.
“Jamaica is one of the most important markets for us in the Caribbean, especially for the Audi Q5 ... Jamaica is also one of the first countries in the region to have the new Q5. We’re very proud of this fact,” Port told Jamaica Observer’s weekly Auto magazine in an exclusive interview.
“The Q5 is very important for us, not just Audi Regional Office in Mexico, but Audi on a global level. It is, for many years, Audi’s best-selling car in its segment and, for many years, Audi’s best-selling car. This is the backbone of our company,” he continued.
The sales manager said Audi’s regional office in Mexico had 23 importers in the region. They are spread throughout the English-, Spanish- and French-speaking Caribbean.
“So it’s Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Curacao, Cayman Islands, St Martin, St Lucia, and all those smaller countries in the Caribbean. In Central America, it’s basically Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and El Salvador ... and the smaller countries in South America which include Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela,” he said.
He said the larger countries in the region – Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru – were serviced by the head office in Ingolstadt, Germany.
Last year Audi recorded a 3.8 per cent increase in global sales under difficult conditions in key markets.
During the ongoing, wide-ranging renewal of the model range, sales increased in all core regions: in Europe (+7.6 per cent), in North America (+5.3 per cent) with further growth in the plateaued US market (+4 per cent) and in Asia-Pacific (+0.5 per cent). In all five of its largest individual markets, the four rings sold more automobiles than ever before. Worldwide, demand increased for the seventh year in a row since 2009. Compared with 949,729 customers in 2009, the company almost doubled its market success over this period.
“Last year was challenging compared to the year before. However, if you look back a little further, we started the regional office in Miami more than 15 years ago and we’ve more than tripled the volume since then. So this is a success story,” said Port.
The regional sales manager used the opportunity to laud ATL Automotive and its principals.
“We’re proud of working with ATL and the Stewart family, which is a very established company in Jamaica and a very important partner for us. I would like to thank them for the effort they did on the motor show just a couple of weeks ago. We had the R8 Spyder being presented for the first time in Jamaica. Again, we’re really proud of having ATL as our partner,” Port added.
Started by Sandals Resorts International Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart in 1997, ATL Automotive is one of Jamaica’s most recognised dealerships. It began with the Honda brand. However, under CEO Adam Stewart, son of Butch Stewart, the dealership has grown to include Porsche, BMW, MINI, Volkswagen, and Audi. Audi was acquired in September 2010.
In March ATL Automotive hosted a three-day motor show dubbed REVOLUTION at its Oxford Road facility in St Andrew. In addition to generating sales for the brands under its portfolio, the occasion saw the unveiling of the first super-car in Jamaica – the R8 Spyder.
Audi is a member of the Volkswagen Group.