| Ishan Ibrahim |
IN AN extraordinary showcase of one of the most coveted automobile brands in the world, Jati Transport Sdn Bhd on Friday celebrated its 30th anniversary with the official opening of the new Mercedes-Benz Autohaus (showroom) in Beribi.
The launch of the new facility was officiated by Executive Chairman of Jati Transport Sdn Bhd, Pengiran Anak Haji Ja’afar ibni Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam; Executive Director of Jati Transport, Andrew Chiam; Head of Marketing and Sales Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars South East Asia 2 and President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Dr Claus Weidner; and President and CEO of Daimler South East Asia Pte Ltd, Singapore, Wolfgang Huppenbauer.
A welcoming speech made by Pengiran Anak Haji Ja’afar accentuated a memorable 30 years in existence of Jati Transport and in particular was the momentous visit to its showroom by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on March 17, 2005.
He also highlighted the amazing capabilities and functions of the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Autohaus showroom and workshop, designed in compliance with the very high standard set by Daimler Germany.
He also announced Jati Transport’s number one ranking in the luxury car segment in Brunei Darussalam with 40 per cent market share that coincided with Mercedes Benz’s number one spot in market share in the global luxury car market.
He was also proud to announce that Jati Transport has 70 per cent local staff from a pool of both foreign and local employees, and some have been there since the start of operations of the premium Mercedes-Benz general distributor in the local scene 30 years ago.
This was followed by a speech from Huppenbauer, where he highlighted the significance of the premium brand in the region.
A plaque was signed by Pengiran Anak Haji Ja’afar, Chiam, Weidner, and Huppenbauer, followed by the drawing of the curtain that covered a scenery backdrop.
They then proceeded to a cake-cutting ceremony that marked the 30th anniversary of Jati Transport.
Cheque donations were also presented by Pengiran Anak Haji Ja’afar to six charitable organisations namely Pengiran Muda Mahkota Al-Muhtadee Billah Fund for Orphans, Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam, Fund for Disabled Person, Centre for Children with Special Needs (KACA), Brunei-Muara District Orphans Fund and SMARTER Brunei.
With an investment of $5 million, the new Mercedes-Benz Autohaus showroom and workshop incorporates the latest Mercedes-Benz concept by Daimler AG, Germany, and occupies a built-up area of 28,000 square feet with a 13-vehicles display area.
The bright open tiled showroom with floor-to-ceiling glass walls includes a luxurious customer lounge with complimentary refreshments, LED television, WiFi, a new car delivery area and a Mercedes-Benz Merchandise shop.
The state-of-the-art workshop also features 15 service bays as well as a warehouse for spare parts, and is equipped with world-leading diagnostic and repair equipment.
The new facility also boasts a professional sales and after-sales team, providing the best-in-class global standards of service for every Mercedes-Benz customer.
In a brief interview, Weidner and Huppenbauer said Brunei is a significant market for the premium brand of Mercedes-Benz automobiles.
On the unpredictable climate and downturn of the global economy, Huppenbauer said the clientele of Mercedes-Benz is not dramatically affected as some other automobile brands and the “broad portfolio” of Mercedes-Benz products has suited the customers from the high and low income groups.
On the subject of hybrid and electrical vehicles, some countries in the region such as Malaysia and Thailand have already shown their support in this genre of vehicles, said Huppenbauer.
In the future, this trend will continue to progress according to the countries involved, and Mercedes-Benz is currently developing these types of vehicle and it will be “a matter of time” when this region will witness the advent of more hybrid and electrical vehicles, he added.
Weidner also said that countries like China is also looking into hybrid and electrical vehicles to manage the country’s traffic jams and pollution levels.
Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are also amongst the countries that are keen to bring or introduce these types of vehicle into their respective countries with a keen focus to control vehicle emissions.
In a country like Brunei, Huppenbauer said the Mercedes-Benz C and A Class are popular, and the CLA and GLA Class are getting into the popularity stakes among local customers.The broad portfolio of Mercedes-Benz automobiles will give more people the chance to drive and own a Mercedes-Benz, he added.
Both of them agreed that Brunei Darussalam is a stable market for Mercedes-Benz automobiles and expressed their confidence that the market for this premium brand will continue to progress and develop well.