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Fresh Talent For Kia

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 29, 2017

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HIGHLY trained technicians and service personnel are among some of the skill sets needed by ATL Automotive for its Kia dealership, which opens March 1 next year.

“It's still early days recruitment-wise, but needless to say, we'll be adding an injection of fresh talent in the coming months to ensure the brand and its customers get the service they expect and more,” Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International/ATL Group of companies, told Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine yesterday.

“Generally speaking, we're always looking to complement our existing expertise with some additional talent to ensure that our levels of service are not just maintained, but exceeded. We do not cut corners when it comes down to how we treat our customers or the brands we represent, and equally it's important to retain that high level of service right across the group. At ATL Automotive, we're huge believers in management and once you combine our existing management with our in-house training facility — the ATL Academy — new systems, and that fresh injection of personnel, the level will be increased higher than ever before.”

Currently ATL Automotive boasts 400 employees on its payroll.

Last Friday, Stewart announced that he would be adding the South Korean brand to his suite of offerings under a newly created subdivision dubbed ATL Tiger Automotive. The showrooms would be in Kingston and tourist capital Montego Bay. The Kia dealership was previously held by Corporate Area businessman Dwight Moore.

The CEO shared his motivation for including Kia in his current line-up.

“Kia is one of the world's fastest-growing automotive brands and offers a highly competitive product range designed and engineered to meet the ever-changing needs of new car buyers throughout the world. The Kia product range represents distinctive, modern design, and the highest levels of build quality and a product range that is almost custom-made for Jamaica — a market that appreciates value, reliability and great-looking cars. Whatever the customer's needs, ATL Automotive will have it; everything from award-winning pickups and multi-vans, right through to compact sedans and race cars,” he said.

“It's important to remember that Kia is not new to Jamaica but, with utmost respect, perhaps not given the same level of attention it has received elsewhere in the world. We'll intend to change that on every level. You can never have too much variety, especially when it comes to offering value for money. One of the many factors that attract people to the Kia brand wherever you go in the world is the value for money they offer. In Jamaica they will offer the best prices in the market bar none; the Kia Picanto, for instance, is likely to be the most affordable new car in country by some margin. If you consider, the new-car market is about 7,000 a year, but the used-car market is almost three times that. So with Kia's price point, you'll start to see people choosing to buy a brand new car with the peace of mind of a service and warranty package versus a used car off the street. When you offer great new cars at used-car prices, the standard of vehicles driving on our streets rises and the whole dynamic of the automotive industry changes for the better. The consumer is the big winner.”

“We believe that with the model line-up Kia offers, and the price point, we'll be generating entirely new segments and are likely to see more sales coming from the used-car market, as well as providing options that currently do not exist in Jamaica. Yes, it'll make the market more competitive and ultimately the customer will be the one benefiting, which is exactly how it should be. We're also looking at the rental and fleet sector. The value proposition, reliability, fuel efficiency and global reputation of the Kia brand makes it a perfect fit for rental and fleet customers,” he continued.

The CEO said that his company would be more than happy to honour existing and valid warranty holders for cars bought locally.

“Currently there are a number of Kia drivers in Jamaica and naturally we'll be delighted to welcome them to our service facilities. We'll have tools and expertise at ATL Automotive to keep their investment running the way it was intended to. In due course, we will invite all current Kia customers to register their vehicle with us so that we may be better able to service their cars.”

Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Kia began as Kyungsung Precision Industry in December 1944. It is South Korea's second-largest automobile manufacturer after Hyundai Motor Company, which owns a 33.88 per cent stake. Its US$1-billion Mexican manufacturing plant produces 300,000 cars per year.

In addition to sedans and SUVs, Kia also produces military vehicles with variants and other transportation equipment.

“We'll stock the micro hatchback, the Picanto; sedans in the five-door Rio, and the four-door Cerato and Optima, the sub-compact crossover, the Soul; the compact SUV, the Sportage the midsize seven-seater SUV Sorento; as well as the midsize seven-seater MPV the Carens. We will also be carrying the full-size MPV Carnival in both eight and 11 seats, the versatile K Truck and, last but certainly not least, the amazing 365hp Grand Touring Stinger,” said Stewart.

In addition to Kia, ATL Automotive is the authorised dealer for Honda, BMW, MINI, Audi, Volkswagen, and Porsche.

“We believe that we now boast the most complete line-up of world-class car brands in Jamaica and our primary focus, as it always has been, is on providing our brands and the individuals that drive them the highest level of care to be found anywhere in the region,” Stewart added.

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