Thursday, July 9, 2009

Komoco lands Ferrari franchise

HOTELIER Ong Beng Seng's motor company Komoco has clinched the Ferrari franchise, ending months of speculation about who will represent the Prancing Horse in Singapore.
Komoco, which currently sells Hyundai and Chrysler cars, will take over from Hong Seh Motors.

The latter, owned by businessman Alfred Tan and son Edward, has held the Ferrari franchise for 25 years.
The Straits Times understands that Ferrari, of Italy, informed Komoco as well as the other contender Premium Automobiles - which sells Audis - of its decision yesterday afternoon.
Premium Automobiles' chief operating officer Marc Singleton said: "We're very disappointed, of course. But it was worth the attempt."
Neither Komoco nor Ferrari was available for comment.
Up to eight parties were said to have been pursuing the franchise, including Mr Andy Goh, brother of Lamborghini dealer Melvin Goh; Porsche dealer Karsono Kwee; and Mr Arthur Tay, who runs leisure group SUTL.
Mr Tay, however, clarified that he was not keen on acquiring the coveted Italian brand, but might want to have "a small stake" in whoever clinches it.
Some quarters reckon Mr Ong's Formula One ties helped seal the deal for Komoco, as Ferrari is strongly associated with the motorsport which the hotelier helped bring to Singapore last year.
Ferrari owners here welcomed the end of the uncertainty revolving around the dealership matter since The Straits Times broke the news in February that Ferrari was looking for a new local agent.
Dr Ben Neo, president of Ferrari Club's Singapore chapter, said: "It's sad for Hong Seh, but we hope Ferrari's decision will be constructive, and we look forward to the new dealer's support."
The club has around 50 members, out of close to 300 Ferrari owners here.
Ferrari prices range from $700,000 to $1 million, and about 20 to 40 cars are sold here a year.
Worldwide, Ferrari sold about 7,000 cars last year.

The new player is expected to have thinner profit margins than Hong Seh, as Ferrari open-market values - roughly the cost price of the car - have started creeping upwards in recent months.
Komoco has been shopping for premises to house the Maranello marque for several weeks now, notably along the Leng Kee Road motor belt.
Sources said it may also have a showroom in Orchard Road, at the Hilton, part of Mr Ong's Hotel Properties stable.
Komoco is expected to operate the Ferrari business under a new name, and should start up in two to three months' time, possibly kicking off with the launch of the California convertible.
The California will be followed by the popular Ferrari F430's replacement, which is expected to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

By Christopher Tan, Senior Correspondent


It is confirmed - Ital Auto, a wholly- owned subsidiary of Komoco Motors, has been picked as the new importer of Ferrari in Singapore.
The Shanghai-based Ferrari Asia Pacific regional office is said to have sent Ital Auto a letter of offer yesterday afternoon.

Subject to agreement, it will bring to a close a much talked-about race among half a dozen competitors who have been ardently wooing the Italian super sports car brand for more than six months.
Ital Auto was set up earlier this year by hotelier Ong Beng Seng and his good friend and long-time business partner, Metro Holdings group managing director Jopie Ong, to bid for the Ferrari dealership.
After beating a field of high-end car distributors and wealthy businessmen, it appears certain that Messrs Ong and Ong will accept the offer to represent the exclusive Italian marque.
If they do so, Ital Auto is expected to appoint Komoco Motors managing director Teo Hock Seng as the dealer principal.
In turn, Mr Teo will likely have to hire a general manager to look after the day-to-day operations.
When that happens, the prancing horse will join an existing stable of automotive marques - Harley Davidson, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Hyundai.
The Ferrari showroom is expected to be housed at the spacious Komoco Motors building on 253 Alexandra Road.
It is understood that the entire facade facing Leng Kee Road will be devoted to Ferrari.
Currently, this section of the building is occupied by the Chrysler and Harley Davidson showrooms.
Most of this space will be taken over for the Ferrari showroom, while the rest is understood to be set aside for the marque's workshop operations.
However, all this is likely be a temporary measure, with the ultimate aim said to be to eventually house the exclusive marque in a more impressive stand-alone facility.
So far, it is understood that the location for this has yet to be identified.

But three years ago, the Italian exotic carmaker undertook a review of its dealer network across the region in an effort to maximise the full potential of the brand.
For Singapore, it invited interested parties to bid for the franchise.
The successful applicant is expected to invest in a new and more visible showroom in the traditional Leng Kee motor belt or the Orchard Road area, as well as beef up after-sales service and customer care programmes.
Last year, only 45 units of Ferrari sports cars were delivered in Singapore, out of the manufacturer's tiny global total of 6,587 units.
But as the Ferrari badge is arguably one of the most desirable in the world, it was no surprise that an unusually large number of parties was vying for the dealership despite the very low volume involved.
They included Hadi Tanaga, the owner of Audi dealer Premium Automobiles, and Karsono Kwee, who represents Porsche and Rolls-Royce, among other brands.
Mr Ong and Mr Tanaga were the two candidates shortlisted by Ferrari a week ago, while Mr Kwee had to bow out of the race much earlier after pressure from Porsche

No comments: