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Vehicle sales down, brand interest up


Marlon Madden

Vehicle sales down, brand interest up

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Despite a considerable overall decline in the demand for new vehicles, there may still be lots of interest in some brands.
Alex MacKenzie, chief operating officer of McEnearney Quality Inc. (MQI), told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that there had been a shift in the number of new vehicles being sold annually – from about 4 300 up till 2008 to approximately 3 000 and even less in 2010 and so far this year.
Total market sales of new vehicles were down for the first quarter of this year by about seven per cent when compared to 2010.
However, MacKenzie said there seems to be a lot of interest in the BMW brand of luxury vehicle. MQI acquired the brand earlier this year when former agent Warrens Motors, part of the Barbados Shipping & Trading group, closed its doors.
“They have only just arrived but we have lots of interest. People are generally happy that it came to MQI but we have only just received the cars.
“[But] the overall demand for new vehicles has fallen by almost 50 per cent since 2008 and hasn’t risen considerably since 2009,” he said.
The new car dealer said they were still not sure that they would be able to keep the Audi brand.
Last year, David Inglefield, president and chief executive officer of ANSA McAl Barbados, confirmed to BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that if the company here takes up the BMW brand, it may have to give up its other luxury asset, Audi, which could end up in the hands of another dealership.
But MacKenzie has since explained to BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that “With the Audi, we are in the process of understanding whether we can keep it or not; normally the luxury brand doesn’t allow you to keep more than one of the core brands, which are basically Mercedes, BMW and Audi”.
“But we will definitely be supporting our customers for as long as it takes,” he said.
“The showroom is currently under refurbishment for BMW. If we get to keep Audi, we will be relocating it to a different showroom.”
MQI will also be relaunching the Mazda 3 and 2 luxury vehicles. The first shipment should arrive in the island as early as June.

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