SUNSHINE Automotive Group CEO Steve Kelly (pictured) admits the last few years has been a difficult time for the motoring industry, but a boost in sales and a range of ‘exciting’ new models has him more confident.
As the group’s main breadwinner, availability of the new Fiesta models has brought renewed activity to the Sunshine Ford dealership.
“Ford has lost market share recently but there has been unprecedented interest in the new range of models it’s releasing,” says Kelly.
“The new Fiesta is selling very well and the new Ford Ranger (4WD utility) and Territory models are being released later this year. Inquiry about the Ranger is particularly strong, I haven’t seen this much interest in a commercial vehicle for a very long time.”
Sunshine Volvo is also garnering interest with its new S60, V60 and XC60, while the group’s marquee Aston Martin and Jaguar sales turned around in 2010 after a lacklustre 12 months.
“In 2010 we sold 27 new Aston Martins, three times the number we sold in 2009. Jaguar sales were in the vicinity of 74-80 and we’ve recently sold one, maybe two of just 10 limited edition XKR’s brought into the country,” says Kelly.
“The top end of the market has come very strong. We’re the sole Aston Martin agent in Queensland and we outperformed all the other states last year. Jaguar only has three model variants at the moment, but since Tata Group bought the make from Ford, it has put a lot of investment into some exciting new models.”
The Sunshine Group was establishied on the Gold Coast in 1989 and now comprises Ford, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Volvo and Kia. As the second largest of the group’s dealerships, Sunshine Kia is also performing well.
Kelly says the venture into both ‘road ticket makes’ and ‘high ticket makes’ has been part diversification strategy and part opportunism.
“With the amount of capital investment into real estate alone, motoring companies can’t rely solely on one market anymore,” he says.
“We assessed each opportunity as it arose and now we are in a good market position servicing both the high end and lower end of the motoring industry.”
Top Companies Profile 2011: Sunshine Automotive Group
CEO: Steve Kelly
Sales 2010: $100million
Forecasted growth: 15 percent
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