Joe Ferreira wants to shake up the local automotive industry with the world's cheapest new car, the diminutive Indian-built Tata Nano. At an introductory price of $893,000, he intends to make inroads into the market.
"It's the right time for this car in Jamaica," he told Auto.
Representing the automotive arm of Metis Group from Santo Domingo, Ferreira is currently in the island to pave the way for India's smallest car. Metis Motors, as the entity will eventually be called, will bring the Nano to Jamaica first and then move towards distribution across the rest of the Caribbean. Ferreira will not seek import partners but intends to set up a full-service dealership in Jamaica to ensure the sustainability of the small car.
"All cars will get a two-year warranty from us," he said.
With the infrastructure in place, Ferreira believes that the advantages the Nano has will make it a significant enough player.
"Jamaica needs this car. The country's size and geographical layout are perfect for the Nano," he said.
He touts three major advantages.
"It will be the cheapest car in Jamaica by a significant margin. You can buy two Nanos, have them insured and you'll be driving for the price of a brand new Suzuki Swift. It will be the most fuel efficient, and the most environmentally friendly as well."
Ferreira said their business plan is sound given the product itself.
"The plan is to have the car officially available in the next two months. But right now, we're testing and doing promotion. We have one model, in one trim, the luxury, keeping things simple for us and customers."
The cars to be imported are the newer second-generation Nano, which have eliminated all the engineering issues, and for those who might question the abilities of a car as small as the Nano, he points to its home country.
"I've been to India and their conditions in terms of road network and climate are far worse than Jamaica. If it can survive there, from my own local testing, Jamaica will be a piece of cake," he said.
Metis Motors sees the real challenge as cultural, as the Jamaican penchant for automotive excess rivals that of the United States.
"People have to see the sense in it, and that's not going to happen overnight," he said.