Motorambar invests $11M in new facilities
José Ordeix, vice president of Motorambar, told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS that the former Bristol Myers facility was acquired last year and remodeled over the past few months with an $8 million investment.
Motorambar’s new HQ features 15,000 square feet of office space for 100 employees in the areas of sales, marketing, distribution, post-sales and finance for the three brands.
The company has another 40 employees, who work at the Infiniti showroom off Kennedy Avenue in the Bechara area of Puerto Nuevo in San Juan. They work in the sales, parts & service and certified pre-owned departments, Ordeix said.
Ordeix said the two-story office building boasts the latest energy- and water-saving systems, 110 parking spaces, eight conference rooms and an adjacent lot to be used either as a vehicle proving grounds to train technicians and staff, or as an additional new-vehicle holding depot.
Parts distribution center
The new Motorambar HQ also houses a state-of-the-art, 53,000-square-foot parts distribution center that contains more than 90,000 types of parts and accessories, worth $6 million, for the three brands’ 50 different vehicle models.
The Motorambar vice president said the parts distribution center features a 30-foot-high ceiling, six warehouse-type receiving docks, water cistern, emergency-power generator, and the latest in security and fire-control systems.
“At the new warehouse, the parts and accessories for the three brands are received from Japan, the mainland U.S., Mexico and Korea and distributed to the Nissan, Infiniti and Kia dealerships throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Ordeix said.
Through a special arrangement with a local courier, parts and accessories are dispatched twice daily to the 15 Nissan, one Infiniti and 14 Kia dealerships on the island, the Motorambar executive added.
Overhauled PDI center
As Ordeix explained, one of the main reasons Motorambar’s new HQ is in Cataño is because, just two blocks away, the company has its 65,000-square-meter, new-vehicle holding lot and predelivery inspection (PDI) center. The lot has the capacity to hold up to 3,500 vehicles.
To speed up the processing and delivery of vehicles to dealers and ultimately to customers, Motorambar invested $2 million to acquire and $1 million to remodel and equip its new PDI center, which is on the northeast corner of the new-vehicle holding lot.
Currently being remodeled, the new PDI will allow Motorambar to double the number of vehicles it inspects and preps every day to 250, before being sent out to dealers. It is slated to be ready within the next 90 days, Ordeix said.
The new, much larger and bigger PDI center features three receiving lanes—one specifically designed for commercial vehicles and another one just for the installation of accessories.
Additionally, the PDI center will house a technical unit to train auto technicians on the three brands. Auto technicians currently are trained at Mech-Tech’s facilities in Caguas.
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 Infiniti brand since 1993.
In August 2007, Motorambar sold its retail Nissan and Kia 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 and improve Infiniti’s service area, growing its 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, which was 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.
In 2010, as part of an internal reorganization, the Motorambar vice president tapped local auto-industry veteran Jaime “Jimmy” Pibernus as commercial director of the Infiniti brand.
“Despite the economic crisis, Nissan has consistently increased its market share over the past four years,” Ordeix indicated. “In 2006, Nissan had a 6.4% share of the Puerto Rico market. As of May, it stood at 10.6%, and placed second in cumulative sales. On the other hand, Kia commanded an 8% market share as of May. What this means is that in bad years, our brands grew.”
With the new parts distribution center, the bigger and better PDI center, and the refreshed and new model lineups about to come out from the dealership’s three auto brands, Ordeix is confident Motorambar will have another banner growth year in 2012 and beyond.
He projected the three brands will achieve a combined market share of 19% by the end of this year.
“Today we proudly celebrate the grand opening of this modern structure, which will help us continue to grow over the next decades, always maintaining a modern and cutting-edge organization,” Ordeix said.