It is no accident that since the appointment of José Ordeix as vice president of Motorambar Inc. in 1999, the local auto distributor has experienced incremental growth each year.
Ordeix directs the strategic commercial administration of 31 authorized dealerships throughout the island, including 17 for Nissan, 13 for Kia Motors and one for Infiniti.
Prior to joining Motorambar, Ordeix spent seven years as general manager of Motor Crédito SA, a division of Santo Domingo Motors Co., in his native Dominican Republic. He completed his bachelor's degree in economics at Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña in Santo Domingo, and obtained a master's degree in business & finance from Webster University in St. Louis, Mo.
In June 2000, Motorambar obtained the distribution rights for Korean brand Kia in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Motorambar has been the Puerto Rico distributor of the Nissan brand (first under the Datsun name) since 1965, and of its luxury brand Infiniti since 1993.
In August 2007, Motorambar sold its Nissan and Kia retail dealership operations on Kennedy Avenue to Auto Grupo, becoming a wholesale independent auto distributor.
In 2009—amid the local auto industry's worst year on record— Motorambar invested $3 million to expand Infiniti's service area, growing the number of service bays and technicians from eight to 13.
That significant investment followed a complete remodeling of Ambar Infiniti on Kennedy Avenue, the lone Infiniti dealership on the island, completed in 2008.
"This is all part of the company's commitment to the brand and to improving the relationship with Infiniti customers pre- and post-sales," Ordeix said.
Last summer, the Motorambar vice president tapped local autoindustry veteran Jaime "Jimmy" Pibernus as commercial director of the Infiniti brand, part of an internal reorganization.
Ordeix had three reasons to celebrate last year. First, after four years of declining overall auto sales, the local auto industry bounced back with 89,745 new units sold, up 17.3% from 2009.
Second, the three automotive brands that Motorambar represents as an independent auto distributor— Nissan, Infiniti and Kia—obtained a combined 15% share of the local auto market, and each brand made significant inroads. Finally, Ordeix said the sales achievements were timely and fitting, as Motorambar celebrated its 45th anniversary last December.
"Within the industry's growth last year, our three brands fared very well," Ordeix told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. "Nissan grew 23.7% with 7,649 units sold and improved its share of the market from 8.1% to 8.5%. Infiniti sales jumped 89.9% with 528 units and significantly improved its market share from 0.4% to 0.6%. "
Kia experienced an 81.5% growth in sales with 5,570 units, becoming the fastest-growing nonluxury auto brand in the local market for the second year in a row.
Ordeix noted the auto distributor's sales projections for this and upcoming years remain positive, as Motorambar represents three successful automotive brands that have been gaining ground year after year.
"Despite the economic crisis, Nissan has consistently increased its market share over the past three years," Ordeix said. "In 2006, Nissan had a 6.4% share of the market, and now it is 8.5%. In 2009, Infiniti had a 0.4% market share and last year moved up to 0.6%. What this means is that in bad years, our brands grew."
With refreshed model lineups this year from the three auto brands— and Nissan's entrance into the commercial-vehicle segment with its new NV line of trucks and vans—Ordeix expects Motorambar to have another banner growth year in 2011.
"This year, we continue with new projects and maintain good sales projections for the three brands we represent regardless of market conditions, as we still see a healthy demand for auto sales in the local market," Ordeix said.
In April, the government of Puerto Rico and the Renault-Nissan Alliance signed a memorandum of understanding to study ways to foster the introduction, use and expansion of the Nissan LEAF zero-emissions, all-electric vehicle in Puerto Rico by next year.