Supermarkets, hypermarkets, shopping malls and department stores are like the multi-purpose vehicles of modern consumer culture. They are made for families, meet their daily needs and help them lead happy lives. This everything-in-one-place, something-for-everyone concept also applies to the local motor trade. Car showrooms, for instance, are clustered together in Leng Kee and Ubi, making it easy for the car buyer to hop from one dealership to another, test-drive a variety of vehicles back to back, drive a hard bargain and check out the different deals – all on the same day.
If you prefer more homework (by experts) and less legwork (on your part) in a “car chase”, a reputable one-stop shop such as Vincar could be your “cruise control” and “navigation system” – you set the speed and destination, and the “car” will take you there in comfort.
Said vehicle (steered by old hand Vincent Tan, the boss of the company) has been in the used-car trade since 1989 and the parallel-import field since 1999, with more than 7000 cars sold (brand-new and second-hand) to date, so it knows exactly what is needed to keep the engines well-oiled in the “alternate” universe of the Singapore motor trade.
Simply put, it starts and ends with the customer. Satisfied clientele is the fuel that powers any enterprise, especially in an open market where every buyer can patronise any seller and commercial competition exists alongside personal freedom of choice.
Satisfying customers isn’t rocket science. For major parallel importers like Vincar, which has been doing a roaring trade in 5 Series saloons and Cayenne SUVs, it boils down to honesty, sincerity and transparency. It’s wheeling and dealing, without the theatrics and greed of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Of course, earning a fair profit is part of the equation, but this shouldn’t preclude offering lower prices and/or higher product specifications than rival firms in the same line.
A parallel-imported, brand-new Bentley in Singapore, for instance, could be 15 to 20 percent cheaper than a similar model (with a similar OMV – open market value) from the authorised agent. The options and equipment might be slightly different (or better), but it’s essentially the same prestige car built in Britain and all. Even a big-time towkay who “prints” money cannot ignore potential savings of $150k-$200k on a million-dollar limousine (or shoebox condo, for that matter).
That $150k-$200k figure could also be the whole “business runabout” budget for a sole proprietor, who works hard for the money and needs an equally hardworking, do-it-all vehicle. What fits the bill would be something like the Nissan NV200 commercial van or, if he prefers a versatile minivan with excellent amenities, the Toyota Estima (incidentally, Vincar stocks both models).
After-sales technical support is important, too, especially for a sophisticated continental car equipped with more electronics than Sim Lim Square and a powertrain more powerful than a MRT train. In the case of Vincar, tie-ups with professional workshops (including high-end outfit MBM Wheelpower) ensure that every fancy car sold (or resold) continues to perform at its peak in the many kilometres ahead.
The pre-owned route is another popular option offered by the complete one-stop shop. Not only does it give the car buyer greater choice from A to V (Alfa Romeo to Volvo), it’s also a convenient avenue for trade-in and consignment when changing to a different ride (be it an upgrade, a downgrade or a lateral transfer). As for the usual vehicle “incidentals” such as financing, insurance, taxation and LTA paperwork, these should be taken care of as part of the standard customer service in a one-stop shop (see sidebar below).
So, a one-stop motoring “supermarket” can be just the ticket for car shoppers who want genuine convenience and need good “vroom” service.
This story was first published in the July 2013 issue of Torque.