Motorcity has been one of the most successful branches of the E K Kanoo motoring company and continues to break new ground despite the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kristian Harrison sat down with Saad Alzowayed, Motorcity’s Assistant General Manager of Passenger Vehicles, to find out the secrets behind the success.
Motorcity, so called to emphasise Kanoo Motors’ vision of creating a ‘motor city’ of automobile solutions from the showroom to service and spare parts, has been riding a wave of success this year.
With 15 top brands under its wing, including six passenger marques such as Volvo, Peugeot and Chery and nine commercial manufacturers including Isuzu, Hino and Daewoo Trucks, Motorcity has enjoyed high sales despite the wider industry taking a downturn.
A huge portion of this success is due to Mr. Zowayed’s pre-pandemic vision. “Before lockdown, I sat down with our wider management team and we discussed what our plans would be going forward,” he explains.
“I anticipated the market would struggle and that lockdown would cause huge supply issues, especially from our Chinese brands, so I made sure I ordered excess stock while I could and we stored it in a huge facility in Bahrain. We made sure that we ordered cars with the highest specs and quality rather than just saturate our showrooms with models for the sake of it.
“Lo and behold, when China blocked its exports and production ground to a halt, Motorcity was the only company in Bahrain with stock,” he says.
It is no surprise, then, that Chery in particular has been a roaring success for Motorcity. The brand has the distinction of being the highest-selling Chinese car in Bahrain’s market for two years in a row, and according to the latest figures, alternates between being the fourth and fifth biggest-selling manufacturer of all in the Kingdom.
This is no mean feat considering the stigma Chinese cars have carried for a long time, but attitudes are changing and Motorcity is leading the way.
“I think the mentality over Chinese cars has changed thanks to the investment into customer awareness that we’ve done,” says Mr. Zowayed. “We’ve altered the market perception by communication and demonstrations, and providing value for our customers.
“Chery itself offers a 10 year, one million kilometre manufacturer warranty, which is staggering. That’s how much faith they have in the quality of their own cars, and it’s the only brand which will offer this.”
Motorcity’s commercial arm continues to reap rewards, with Isuzu and Hino trucks in particular being used by the Bahraini government and local municipalities for large-scale projects.
“We do everything to make things convenient for our customers. If you want to take a car for a test drive but you work long hours at the office, we’ll drop it to you there. If you don’t want to sit in traffic to visit the showroom, we’ll drop it to your house. We also won’t just give a car to you for an hour or two, but the whole weekend at your leisure,” he says.
“You can speak to our staff either at home and take a virtual tour of the showroom, or you can physically come here and see the cars for yourself. We accommodate all needs,” he adds.
As for the future, Mr Alzowayed is remaining tight-lipped on new acquisitions, but with a twinkle in his eye says: “We never miss an opportunity.”