ATL Automotive dreams up its future
BYD Jamaica will be offering seven models from the Chinese automaker's line-up.(Photo: Contrbuted)

The ATL Automotive Group has been named the regional master dealer for Chinese electric vehicle brand BYD (Build Your Dreams).

The arrangement places them as exclusive dealers for BYD in Jamaica and eight other Caribbean countries.

The announcement came on Monday, June 25, at the AC Hotel Kingston.

"Being an automotive enthusiast my entire life you tend to get a pulse to what are the futuristic brands. What are the brands that are going to give the consumer the best experience, from value for money to features, right up to build quality? BYD in the EV space is the undoubted leader," Adam Stewart, executive chairman, ATL Automotive Group, told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

From left: Sloane Jackson, head of business BYD, ATL Automotive Group; Tiffany Martin, general manager, BMW & MINI Caribbean Hub; Neva Zhang, country manager of Caribbean and Central American Countries, BYD; Stephen Hector, group marketing director, ATL Automotive; Adam Stewart, executive chairman, ATL Automotive Group; Petrena Purser, general manager, Honda Jamaica, ATL Automotive West; Gregory Farah, managing director, LAFAST Motors; and Mark Laughlin, director, LAFAST Motors, celebrate the entrance of the BYD brand into the ATL Automotive Group on Monday, June 26. (Photo: Karl Mclarty)

As several brands within the ATL Automotive Group's portfolio have been aggressively pursuing electrification, Stewart felt the BYD brand would be a perfect addition with its all EV models.

"I went after BYD myself. I personally made the contacts, made the phone calls," he said.

This began the 18-month process that ended successfully for the ATL Automotive Group. BYD will now join the ATL Automotive Group, tentatively under the BYD Jamaica banner and be captained by Sloane Jackson, who will retain his position as head of business of ATL Autobahn, the arm of the ATL Automotive Group responsible for the BMW & MINI brands. BYD Trinidad, a co-venture with LAFAST Motors, who also partners with the ATL Automotive Group for BMW & MINI, will handle business at the other end of the Caribbean. Along with Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, the remaining seven territories are Cayman, Curacao, Barbados, Aruba, Antigua, St Lucia, Guyana, and Suriname.

Jackson explained at the launch that pre-orders for the seven models - the Dolphin, Han, Seal, Song Plus, Tang, Yuan, and E6 are open. Within those seven models prospective buyers have the choice between six EVs and one plug-in hybrid, four sport utility vehicles of varying seating capacity from five to seven, and two sedans. All the EVs have the range to make it to Negril and back, while the plug-in hybrid has 100 kilometres of electric-only operation. Of the seven, the Han sedan and Tang SUV are only available in left hand drive.

The AC Hotel Kingston will be the first home for the latest brand to join the ATL Automotive Group, BYD. (Photo: Karl Mclarty)

Jackson added that he expects the Yuan and the E6 to be the major sellers due to their market positioning and pricing.

The Yuan is an all-electric, five-seater compact SUV, but priced in the subcompact-SUV segment below.

The E6 is a seven-seater EV pitched at commercial passenger businesses and fleets.

The first of 10 showrooms is scheduled to be opened in October at the AC Hotel Kingston. The local showroom will be termed an experience centre. The remaining showrooms are to be built across the Caribbean in the following 18 to 24 months.

Since its inception in 1997 as the dealer for Honda motor vehicles, the ATL Automotive Group has grown significantly, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022. Stewart sees the BYD acquisition as the route to another 25 years of providing the Jamaican automotive public with the best brands and service.

"We're in the business of making sure that when customers come to us we're able to find them their mobility solutions," Stewart said.

BY RORY DALEY Auto writer

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