KINGSTON, Jamaica: - TRAFFIC along Oxford Road in New Kingston was almost brought to a halt as motorists slowed to see the newly opened state-of-the-art Volkswagen showroom on Monday.
"This is arguably the most sophisticated automotive showroom the Caribbean has ever seen. A year ago we broke ground and promised to deliver two world-class showrooms unmatched by any other in the entire region. We have put our money where our mouth is by investing US$13 million to develop these showrooms. We have one down and in just another week we open the Audi showroom next door," said Adam Stewart, ATL Automotive CEO .
According to Stewart, this is the largest automotive investment by any local company.
"We brought these brands to Jamaica based on a firm belief that the people of this country deserved better. Audi and VW have a goal to dominate the automotive industry worldwide by 2018, and this little country is contributing to that historic achievement in a big way. The feedback has been tremendous since we opened on Monday. These are harsh economic times and we are heartened that we could give Jamaica hope and something to 'get happy' and be excited about at this time," Stewart said.
Adam Harris, Volkswagen brand manager, said the best part about the opening of the new showroom so far has been the response from existing customers.
"We have heightened the sense of pride in our VW drivers. Many have come in to just to see what it looks like and the excitement about it is overwhelming. They are very pleased to be aligned to a brand that looks this good," he said.
The new showroom is designed to hold 10 vehicles across the passenger and commercial range.
" Inside this showroom is a vehicle for everyone; every age, every lifestyle. Our passenger range covers hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs. The increasingly popular compact Tiguan SUV is the most powerful in its class, currently holds the number three spot in compact SUV sales and was also VW's number one seller for January. The VW Commercial range spans panel vans, window vans, light trucks and the Amarok pick-up; Jamaica's number one selling pick-up model for the past two years. The brand overall was number two in the market for the first time in January," said Harris.
Continuing, Harris said: "We position our VW models as the best value for money on the market with prices as low as $2.6 million for the Caddy; German engineering at incredible prices. Now we have the perfect showroom to not only display them, but to deliver them to new buyers."
The new showroom boasts a well-lit, air conditioned and spacious delivery room at the back where customers will receive their new cars in ultra-comfort and privacy. Harris says he expects the Volkswagen brand to gain momentum with the opening of the new showroom.
"We have an excellent sales team and they're very excited about their new work environment, so we expect the new showroom to impact them positively to the point that they will push even harder to increase our market share," he said.
To some onlookers, the best view of the new showroom is at night when the lights illuminate the German-designed building to create a never-before-seen spectacle. With the addition of the Audi showroom in another week, followed by the Land Rover showroom in another year, ATL Automotive will have successfully transformed the area into Jamaica's automotive mecca/hip strip.