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New Eurokars HQ opens with ‘car-lite’ BMW showroom

New Eurokars HQ opens with ‘car-lite’ BMW showroom

The Straits Times, by Christopher Tan

The Eurokars Centre is almost the height of a 20-storey Housing Board block. (Photo: Eurokars Group)

Multi-franchise motor conglomerate Eurokars Group is marking its first year as a BMW dealer with the opening of a new regional headquarters building featuring a new car retail concept on Dec 15.

Costing some $115 million, the Eurokars Centre at 11 Kung Chong Road is one of the biggest investments made by a motor group here, surpassing Wearnes Automotive’s $30 million redevelopment of its multi-brand complex in 2018.

The new 9,233 sq m Eurokars Centre has 11 levels, including three basements and one rooftop level, making it the tallest automotive complex in the Leng Kee motor belt.

Spanning nearly 1,000 sq m on the second level is the BMW Eurokars Experience Centre. Although it can accommodate 10 cars, no more than seven will be displayed, so as “to create a spacious and comfortable environment for customers, allowing them to appreciate BMW cars and browse our BMW lifestyle retail merchandise in the lounge”, the company said.

This is in line with the BMW Retail.Next concept, where cars almost take a back seat. Set amid greenery are a cafe and hospitality area, and a sales consultation area with 3D digital configuration tools to help buyers visualise their future BMW – inside, outside, in daylight and at night.

The cafe will serve Freude Blend, a custom espresso blend created in collaboration with Tiong Hoe Coffee, while the lounge area will offer an assortment of French pastries and halal dim sum.

“Imagine stepping into a BMW dealership that is akin to a luxurious boutique hotel, where warm hospitality takes precedence over the conventional car buying experience,” said Ms Charmain Kwee, executive director of Eurokars Group.

“Gone are the days of confining conversations to cubicles. Now, sales consultants can engage with potential customers right beside the vehicles they are interested in purchasing.”

A second BMW Retail.Next facility will open at 29 Leng Kee Road in the third quarter of 2024.

Right above the BMW showroom in the Kung Chong Road complex is a BMW workshop with ceiling to floor windows. It spans more than 1,300 sq m and is equipped with eight mechanical and electrical workbays and six electric vehicle charging points.

BMW Eurokars Experience Centre: Cars here and there, but not packed bumper to bumper. (Photo: Eurokars Group)

Another BMW service centre will open in Tanjong Penjuru in the west in early 2024, complementing the existing centre at 29 Leng Kee Road.

On the fifth level, another workshop is dedicated to McLaren and Pagani cars. Offices occupy the sixth and seventh levels. The other levels include an open roof-top area, a service reception on the first basement, and two other basement levels for carparks.

Ms Kwee added: “This new BMW Experience Centre is not just a showroom. It’s a vibrant space where customers become part of a passionate community who share the same love for driving.”

BMW Group Asia managing director Lars Nielsen said: “Over the past two decades, we have built a strong partnership with Eurokars Group, across the whole BMW Group portfolio, and this milestone is a testament to both our commitment and dedication to delivering exceptional customer service.”

The Eurokars Centre flagship building took more than five years to realise. It is completed five years after the group led by executive chairman Karsono Kwee opened a $70 million, 430,000 sq m integrated warehousing, servicing and car pre-delivery centre in Tanjong Penjuru.

The Eurokars Centre marks Mr Kwee’s 38th year in the business.

“It was not easy,” Mr Kwee said of his decades building up the company. “The first five years were very tough. But I have a good team and I thank them for helping me.”

BMW is represented by two official dealers in Singapore. Before Eurokars came into the picture, Performance Motors (a unit of Malaysia’s Sime Darby group) was the sole BMW dealer for 40 years here.

According to Land Transport Authority figures, close to 2,900 BMW cars were registered in the first 10 months of 2023. The Straits Times understands Performance Motors accounted for around two-thirds of that volume.

Over the long term, Mr Kwee said he was targeting to capture at least half of BMW sales. Besides Singapore, Eurokars represents BMW in Indonesia. The group is also a long-time representative of two other BMW-owned brands – Mini and Rolls-Royce.

Eurokars’ Ferrari facility in Jakarta: Four storeys of showroom and workshop, flanked by hotels and a stone’s throw from a Lexus showroom. (Photo: Eurokars Group)

Regional expansion

Eurokars is the biggest owner-operated motor group headquartered in Singapore, with a total 13 franchises in three other markets in the region. While Eurokars Centre is its largest investment to date, the group is investing to enlarge its presence in all the markets it is operating in.

In Australia, it is building a $4 million, 140,000 sq ft facility in Port Hedland (north of Perth) for a truck business it is starting to serve the mining community there. It will be selling Mazda, Ford and Mitsubishi twin-cab trucks. In Perth, it is building a $7 million, 60,000 sq ft aftersales facility for Mazda. Both these facilities are slated to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2024.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, it completed a $1 million, 9,300 sq ft Bentley showroom in September. It also represents several other brands in Indonesia, including Rolls-Royce, Porsche, Maserati, McLaren and Ferrari. Its new Ferrari showroom complex opened in the prime Proklamasi district in July 2022.

Eurokars is also building a 34,500 sq ft facility to house BMW and Mini in PIK 2, a seaside township dubbed “New Jakarta City”. This will cost $17 million and is slated to be up in 2025.

In Shenzhen, the group is erecting its third Rolls-Royce showroom in China, following Nanning and Shanghai. The $6 million, 6,000 sq ft showroom will open on Dec 20.