Neville Graham Business Reporter - Gleaner Jamaica
Magna Motors, the new dealers for Hyundai in Jamaica, is adding a new showroom and offices in Kingston, now under construction at the repurposed complex owned by Bearings and Seals at 20B Old Hope Road.
The property, which Hyundai will operate from under lease, at one time was home to a petrol service station.
Magna Motors Sales and Marketing Manager Carlos 'Ricky' Geourzoung says the showroom should be ready by March.
"We're just waiting on some fixtures that are coming in from Korea. We're gonna have at least a seven-vehicle showroom that will definitely be of world-class standard as far as that is concerned," he said.
Magna Motors, a Dominican Republic operation, entered Jamaica last August when it acquired the local Hyundai dealership. The company has not disclosed the size of the investment made in its market entry but says the new showroom is costing $61 million.
Magna operates a training and service centre at its base at Balmoral Avenue, Kingston. The complex also houses a showroom and Hyundai sales operations, which will be relocated to the new showroom at Old Hope Road.
"We want to be number one in five years, and we are not just speaking of the units sold but also in terms of the experience that we give to customers," said Geourzoung. "That will be primary to us because what we have promised and we're delivering and we will improve on, is an experience second to none," he said.
Before Magna, the Hyundai dealership was held by Desmond Panton's Key Motors from the mid-1990s.
Geourzoung says the new dealer's portfolio of Hyundai vehicles include the Grand i10 in sedan and hatchback, the Accent, Veloster, Tucson, the H1, Santa Fe and the Sonata.
Magna Motors does not have a bonded warehouse and have had to make do with special arrangements to meet the demand.
"That is why we use the facilities at the free zone. There are a number of things that have been offered to us that we are looking at. We can't divulge anything right now as we are at a delicate stage," said Geourzoung. "Out of that, we have been clearing vehicles and we've delivered quite a few so far."
Those special arrangements were the subject of testy exchanges in Parliament last November following questions from Opposition Spokesman on Commerce Karl Samuda on whether the vehicles would end up on the local market without paying the requisite duties. Magna has assured that it pays duties on the cars sold in Jamaica.
The free zone arrangement acts as a regional hub for Magna Motors' operations in the Caribbean. That same arrangement also facilitates spare parts that feed the Jamaican operation, according to Geourzoung.
"We're gonna be having parts here at Balmoral Avenue and also at the free zone. In the event of need, we can also bring in parts from our Miami facility in three days, with only Customs to clear," he said.
Hyundai Jamaica has no immediate plans to expand beyond Kingston, Geourzoung said