HOURS after officially breaking ground for the state-of-the-art facility for Audi and Volkswagen on Oxford Road, New Kingston on Wednesday, ATL Group chairman Gordon 'Butch' Stewart told Auto he has his sights set on expanding that business into central Jamaica.
"I would very much like to open a centre in Mandeville ...to include Appliance Traders and ATL Automotive, similar to the one we have in Montego Bay," Stewart told Auto in an interview.
Stewart, founder of the successful Sandals and Beaches hotel chains, said he is not yet actively searching for, or has identified a property in the parish of Manchester. But he is, however, convinced of the potential to grow his companies in that area.
"I think there is business there ... and we would work to build the community," he said. "I think the time is right."
Earlier that day, 'Butch' Stewart, his son Adam, together with a government delegation headed by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, officially broke ground for the US$13.5m facility on Oxford Road. "This facility will be the first of its kind in the Caribbean and Latin America," Adam Stewart told Auto. "It will also create jobs and will help stimulate the economy."
The site -- formerly the home of Mas Camp — will house two, two-storey, 8,000 sq ft, state-of-the-art, eight-car showrooms. The project is expected to be completed within the next 18 months.
At the event, Stewart, who is also CEO of Sandals, launched the ATL Groups' 'Unbeatable' campaign which would see all the companies owned by the Stewarts positioning themselves as market leaders.
"Today is an unbelievable day. In fact, it is an unbeatable day," he declared.
In her address, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said the Stewarts' investment is a demonstration of the private sector's confidence in Jamaica and projects of such nature could greatly help the country to overcome its economic hurdles.
"We can overcome the economic challenges if the Government and private sector work together constructively," she said.
ATL Automotive holds the dealership for the Audi, Range Rover, Land Rover, Jaguar, Volkswagen and Honda brands.