Eurokars Group is appointed second full-service BMW dealer in Singapore alongside Sime Darby's Performance Motors Limited
Mr. Lars Nielsen, Managing Director - BMW Group Asia
BMW Group Asia's Lars Nielsen tells all about the whys/hows/whens behind the appointment of Eurokars Auto as a second full-service BMW dealer in Singapore
Singapore - When first news broke last week that BMW intended to appoint Eurokars Auto as a second full-service BMW dealer in Singapore, we're pretty sure the first thought on a lot of minds was that PML was in trouble of some sort, or that the powers-that-be were somehow unhappy with the incumbent's performance.
However, this couldn't be further from the truth, as Mr. Lars Nielsen, Managing Director, BMW Group Asia assured us during an exclusive roundtable session earlier this week to clarify some facts about the new appointment.
“After conducting a market review, we're looking very favourably at Singapore as a growth market for our upcoming products. We see a potential for growth from where we are at this point in time. Think of it as ‘1+1’ being more than just 2. Moreover, the last couple of years have shown that even in troubled times, the luxury (premium) segment is a very resilient segment in Singapore. Last but certainly not least, it is also to provide an element of choice to BMW customers, because we want to offer all model segments to an even wider customer group.”
“Our only interest is that we have to ensure the brand is correctly positioned in Singapore and the customers get the best treatment and can experience the ultimate service and products from BMW,” Lars tells us.
In furtherance of the brand's mid- to long-term expansion plans, BMW Group Asia has appointed Eurokars Auto Pte. Ltd. as the second official fully-fledged Dealer of BMW vehicles in Singapore. Like PML, Eurokars Auto will also offer a complete suite of after-sales services to all BMW car owners.
Starting 1 October 2022, Eurokars Auto will open its doors at 11 Leng Kee Road to customers in Singapore (a stone's throw away from PML's facility along Alexandra Road) to offer a full range of BMW vehicles.
This portfolio will span the fully electric BMW i models to the the high-performance BMW M models and practically everything else (including MINI and Rolls-Royce, which are already under the Eurokars Group) – save Motorrad products.
We reckon there'll be great synergy between the BMW brand and the other brands currently distributed by the Eurokars Group in Singapore.
Not only can it capture aspirational buyers from its pool of MG and Mazda owners, it's also not uncommon for owners of the Eurokar Group's niche sportscar and super-luxury segments to maintain multi-car garages for their households... and this can now invariably include cars from the BMW stable.
Mr. Lars Nielsen, Managing Director - BMW Group Asia
Lars continues, “For BMW, it isn't uncommon to have multiple dealers in one market and Singapore is (was) one of the few exceptions. Ultimately, Singapore is also a good test-bed in which to experiment before rolling-out and scaling strategies to suit different larger markets. Why? Well, it's reasonably easy to oversee, the vehicle population is 'managed' by the COE system, customers are affluent and decision-making power sits here.”
On the topic of Singapore's suitability as a test-bed market, this author is personally surprised BMW hasn't elected to adopt an importer-retailer model (as opposed to appointing a second dealer), although naturally we won't be able to say the same for the other brands...
After all, if BMW itself decides to handle everything (i.e. Apple or Tesla style), it'll be able to guarantee a consistent and cohesive pre-sales, sales and after-sales experience for its customers with a consolidated and seamless trade-in/finance/insurance/warranty back-end... and this is something it can experiment with in Singapore, before deciding if it is worthwhile to execute in larger markets around the world.
Naturally, some detractors might naturally think this is a strategy to determine which of the two will be the last man standing after the dust settles.
Lars shakes his head, “As far as our dealer partners are concerned, there's never any desire from us to see any one of them fail. BMW is a competitive brand – we like competition. Our dealers are ambitious partners with different philosophies, but we want them to be as market-driven as possible. Both Sime Darby and Eurokars Auto are professional partners with extensive experience in the automotive industry that have been selected as cooperation partners.”
“We have to ensure the brand is correctly positioned in Singapore and the customers enjoy the best treatment and can experience the ultimate service and products from BMW,” says Lars Nielsen, Managing Director - BMW Group Asia
Some of you are probably wondering if this development means a greater variety of BMW models will be made available to Singapore buyers.
“We may have two dealers under BMW Group Asia as the Principal in Singapore, but we aim to operate just one portfolio of cars to sell. It's not about having more models made available, but rather we want to see what sells and get the right models and make the volume from those models. It could be a natural development that one dealer will cater to higher-end and performance vehicles, while the other deals with the mass market models, but I wouldn't know at this point in time,” Lars tells us.
If you recall, the last time BMW appointed a second dealer was when Munich Automobiles was created (as a joint venture between Prestige Cars and the Sime Darby Group) to sell M and M Performance Automobiles (or MPA for short) models back in 2009. However, the M and MPA portfolios have since been reconsolidated back under Sime Darby Group's umbrella with Performance Munich Automobiles.
Lars explains the differences between that situation and the current one, “That was a small niche – a small part of the market. In this case, we're adopting a change in strategy as a customer-oriented development as opposed to a short term optimisation. We want to create a solid BMW base for Singapore moving forward.”
It's an interesting gambit that could see BMW enjoy greater growth and it has certainly rocked the status quo that BMW's immediate rivals – Audi and Mercedes-Benz – have not seen fit to disturb thus far.
Lars smiles, “I would like to believe that my colleagues in the industry feel confident in the strategies they have employed in Singapore so far. As far as we're concerned, I have not looked backwards in time, because this decision is a forward looking one. We want the growth to be sustainable and hope to achieve some stabilisation by 2023.”
“The last two years have proven that the demand for luxury segment vehicles and new automotive technologies is increasing in Singapore,” said Mr. Lars Nielsen, Managing Director, BMW Group Asia.
He continues, “In order to manage this growth and the increasing needs of our flourishing customer base, we decided to expand our dealer network in the market. Moving forward, we will have two strong partners in Singapore, both who bring passion for the brand and knowledge of the premium segment to the table. We are extremely excited to work closely with both Eurokars Auto and Performance Motors Limited as we look to start a new chapter in the BMW story in Singapore.”
Mr. Karsono Kwee, Executive Chairman - Eurokars Group
Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Karsono Kwee, Executive Chairman - Eurokars Group, said, “This is an exciting milestone for Eurokars Group as we expand our long-standing partnership with the BMW Group in the region."
"Our story with the BMW Group started in 2003 with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Singapore and Indonesia. One year later, we began our partnership with BMW and BMW M in Indonesia and in 2006, partnered again to launch MINI in Singapore. We aim to leverage our knowledge of the BMW brand, and our extensive experience and expertise in the automobile industry, including the premium and luxury car segment, to ensure Eurokars Auto brings the latest that BMW has to offer to customers in Singapore,” Mr. Kwee continues.
Mr. Pang Cheong Yan, Managing Director - Sime Darby Motors (Singapore, Thailand & Southeast Asia Development)
“Performance Motors’ journey with BMW in Singapore began more than 40 years ago. Through this partnership, we have grown the BMW business to where it is today, the leading premium car brand in Singapore, with strong sales and aftersales operations, innovative marketing, and superior customer experience. At Performance Motors, enhancing the customer experience is our focus and we will continue to give our customers the best experience every time, strengthening the BMW brand in Singapore,” said Mr. Pang Cheong Yan, Managing Director - Sime Darby Motors (Singapore, Thailand & Southeast Asia Development).