Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Brunei Darussalam recorded an increase in car sales in 2020. According to the ASEAN Automotive Federation data, Brunei sold 11,220 units from January to October. This is an increase of 13.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.
With regards to the market preferences, small cars and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are becoming increasingly popular among Bruneians due to their versatility.
Many car manufacturers produce SUVs in various sizes, Brunei Auto Traders Association President Teng Chee Kiong said. Saloon cars of 1.6 cubic capacity are less popular nowadays, he said.
“People are still buying cars for convenience, especially recent university graduates,” Teng said. He also lauded the government in its efforts to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak promptly.
“Bruneians usually travel abroad, but due to COVID-19, they have to stay in the country which has boosted the local economy including the car industry,” said Teng.
He also added that Brunei does not produce cars, in comparison to other countries where production control is still ongoing and some factories are still closed, affecting auto dealers’ orders.
QAF Auto Sdn Bhd, the sole importer and distributor of BMW and MINI vehicles in Brunei Darussalam, recently opened the doors of its newly renovated showroom at QAF Centre. With 14 display units and 31 service bays, the showroom covers 33,680 square feet, offering sales and aftersales services for both BMW and MINI brands.
“Our goal is to offer the industry’s best premium customer experience,” said Christopher Wehner, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia.
“As we look to strengthen the presence of both BMW and MINI brands in Brunei, we want to provide fans and customers of both brands with an experience they’ll never forget. Whether they are entering our showroom for the first time, or bringing their vehicle in for a routine check-up, our customers in Brunei will know they are our number one priority.”
According to QAF Auto General Manager Alisa Khoo, 2020 was an extremely challenging and busy year, with the QAF team working hard to bring the BMW and MINI brands under one roof. “We’re excited to kick off 2021 by offering customers everything and anything they need, with the most stringent safety measurements in place,” she said.
Not only will customers see the latest BMW and MINI models, they can also look forward to sales of parts, accessories and lifestyle products; vehicle services and repairs; and body and paint maintenance – all provided by QAF Centre.
“We are proud to offer a premium retail experience combined with signature design elements of both brands in order to deliver comfort and excitement across all customer touchpoints,” said the general manager.
QAF Auto has invested approximately EUR2.2 million to renovate the facility. This includes spacious and comfortable BMW and MINI waiting areas, as well as the Isetta Bar (in BMW) or MINI Caf. (in MINI) for customers to enjoy refreshments while speaking with consultants or waiting for their vehicles to be serviced.
Also available is the service consultation at vehicle bays, which enables customers to go through each and every detail of their vehicle together with service advisors in a comfortable setting. The dedicated BMW and MINI delivery bays welcome customers with open arms when they join the BMW or MINI family.
There is also a new body and paint area so that every BMW and MINI is kept in a pristine condition at every stage of the customer’s ownership journey. Additional workshop bays have been set up to ensure fast turnaround and cater to all servicing and maintenance needs.
The renovated showroom is open for the public to view the latest BMW and MINI models and for customers to drop off their vehicles for servicing.
Porsche Centre Brunei was established in 1997 under QAF Eurokars Sdn Bhd as an exclusive importer and dealer of Porsche vehicles and genuine spare parts in Brunei Darussalam.
Several new products and services have been recently introduced by QAF Eurokars to meet the needs of its customers. QAF Eurokars General Manager Lahiru de Silva said, “In 2019, we have introduced online vehicle configuration via Porsche International Car Configurator which offers personalised vehicle customisation, the first in Brunei.
“In 2020, we have introduced the first virtual showroom in the region where customers can go online and check the availability of their desired model. Porsche Approved Vehicles Programme was introduced in addition to new vehicle sales and last but not least Porsche warranty extension up to 15 years was introduced for existing customers which is remarkable.”
In January 2021, the new Porsche Centre Brunei officially opened its doors in Beribi. “The new showroom area can showcase up to eight new Porsches and our fitting lounge offers every Porsche customisation option materials including Porsche Exclusive Manufacture and paint to sample options,“ said the general manager.
The first air-conditioned workshop in the country houses up to six operational working bays with frameless telescopic inground lifts, inground exhaust system and all Porsche special tools and equipment that are unique to Porsche Centre Brunei which increase productivity and efficiency of its Porsche certified technicians.
The service reception area is more exclusive, comprising an air-conditioned Direct Dialogue Bay for better comfort of customers while their Porsche is inspected by the Porsche Certified Service Advisors.
Porsche Tequipment accessories are offered to upgrade their Porsche to the next level, and a dedicated “shop-in-shop” features the latest collection of Porsche Driver’s Selection.
In addition to the new centre opening, QAF Eurokars has also launched the first all-electric car from Porsche, the Taycan, in early 2021. The launch of Taycan marks the beginning of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) from Porsche, supporting sustainability in Brunei.
To prepare for the new era of electromobility, the new Porsche Centre Brunei is equipped with high-voltage battery repair capabilities. Alternating current chargers are now available, and in the pipeline is a direct current high performance charging network which will be established at the centre.
Moving forward, Porsche pursues the vision of becoming the most sustainable brand for exclusive and sporting mobility. Besides its shift to electromobility, the company is expanding its carbon dioxide compensation programme, Porsche Impact, following a successful pilot phase which took place between December 2018 and April 2020. During this period, approximately 45,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide were offset.
Using an online calculator, Porsche customers can determine the carbon dioxide footprint of their cars and financially support projects to compensate for it. The programme is available in more than 15 countries including Brunei. With Porsche Impact, the sports car manufacturer unites its heritage with a sustainable future. After all, 70 per cent of all Porsche cars ever built are still on the road today. “Porsche is not just a car brand, it’s a history with more than 30,000 race winnings, synonym for high-end thinking, a sporty driving experience, elegant design, powerful functionality and superior service.
“Porsche’s product portfolio has always met the individual needs of different customers. Since the establishment of Porsche Centre Brunei in 1997, we have never stopped devoting ourselves to meet the commitments of our valuable customers,” said the general manager.
In addition to Porsche, BMW and MINI, there are various other brands offered by authorised distributors in the country, offering a wide selection of models to choose from.
Established in 1987, Jati Transport Sdn Bhd is the distributor of Mercedes-Benz, offering highquality sales and aftersales customer service.
GHK Motors Sdn Bhd is the franchise distributor of Mitsubishi, Daihatsu, GM, Chevrolet and Chrysler vehicles. The company recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Toyota and Lexus are distributed by NBT (Brunei) Sdn Bhd, with showrooms located at Gadong, Bunut and Kuala Belait.
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