Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 17th 2015 Contents The Massy Group of Compa-
nies car dealerships in the
Colombian city of Cali sell
almost ten per cent of the
vehicles there, said David
O Brien executive chairman,
automotive and industrial sector, Massy Group.
He said Massy has two dealerships in Cali
and they started operations there in April 2014.
"The brands we sell in Colombia include
the Kia, Fiat and Foton trucks. We have full
service operations. We have showrooms, service
centres and body shops. We have about six
locations in Cali. It is a city of over two million
people, bigger than T&T," he told the Business
Guardian last Thursday.
He said a total of 25,000 new cars are sold
annually in Cali from the entire car market.
In 2014, Massy s chairman Robert Bermudez
"We have acquired a car dealership in Bogota
and Cali, where we have a joint-venture partner
in the De Lima Group. We see our future to
the west of us and we are cautiously investing
in order to gain experience and to develop
relationships with people in Latin America."
O Brien described the market there as being
"pretty good," adding that Massy employs
about 200 people in the car dealerships.
"Colombia is an oil producing country as
well and things have been slower. The reaction
has been a change in the foreign exchange
rate. This went from 1,800 pesos to US$1 to
about 3,100 pesos to US$1. There has been a
big devaluation. That has really affected us
when we transfer to T&T dollars but the oper-
ation there has been doing well."
Speaking about Massy Energy, he said that
company is based in Colombia s capital of
"Although it is based in Bogota, it operates
all over Colombia. In the energy sector, we
do energy services similar to the operations
we do here with our energy company. We have
about 1,100 employees in that company."
He said they remain "very positive" about
operations in Colombia in the future.
"There are tremendous opportunities for
growth, such as, other acquisitions in other
cities. In the automotive sector, particularly,
but we are looking at other sectors as well."
O Brien spoke to the Business Guardian at
the launch of Massy Motors new showroom,
Mid Centre Mall, Chaguanas.
Massy Motors captures
33- 35% of local market
O Brien described car sales in T&T as being
relatively "flat" over the last three years with
about five per cent growth.
"This year about 19,000 new cars will be
sold in T&T in the entire industry. We usually
get about 33 per cent to 35 per cent of that
market share. We have a pretty good share of
He does not expect the damp external eco-
nomic conditions to affect the automotive
industry negatively and expresses optimism.
Although, he said, the interests rates are
"low," information from the Central Bank has
shown that the repo rate has gone up eight
times since September 2014.
"There is a lot of cash available in the market
and people are getting car loans. There are no
reasons why people should not continue to
buy cars. You can buy a new car at a very
good rate. Prices on cars are very stable so I
do not anticipate any major decline in sales."
According to information provided by Massy
Motors, the cost of a Hyundai Elantra is
$159,900 with an APR of 8.22 per cent.
If financing from Massy is for five years,
the interest at the end of the period is $36,
The monthly instalment: $3,328.
In Trinidad, Massy has showrooms in Mor-
vant, Port-of-Spain and San Fernando with
Chaguanas being the newest.
They have one showroom in Tobago.
O Brien said there are no plans for future
expansion in T&T, at the moment, but Massy
is always looking at opportunities.
"We have been building quick-service
opportunities. We have two franchises---Diego
Martin and Charlieville---and this is for serv-
icing our cars. Then we have our own quick-
service outlets and there are about six of these,"
While Massy Motors launched its new show-
room last Thursday at Mid Centre Mall, on
Friday (December 11), re-launched its upgraded
Massy Stores at the same mall.
Derek Winford, CEO of Massy Stores, spoke
to the Business Guardian last Friday at the
launch. He said the slowdown of the economy
and the recession have already impacted on
business in the retail and supermarket sector.
"From the time there is sentiment coming
from the Government that things are not as
rosy as before, people stop spending. Our sales
get affected the next day. People have already
started cutting back."
He said some of the government ministries
that usually buy vouchers from them for
Christmas have already started to cut back.
"They buy food vouchers and give to their
staff and now they have stopped. For people
who had already purchased vouchers, we have
actually refunded a number of ministries. Of
course, that will affect our sales. I am talking
a few million dollars less from the ministries.
So it has started in all quarters. It seems that
the Government is cutting back more than
the private sector."
He said they are going to look more to the
local market as a way of confronting the eco-
"A lot of the decor in this store is done
locally. The first store we did was all imported,
now it s all local. Look at our produce depart-
ment, you would see the local content. We
are also using local farmers as suppliers.
Remember, we invented the "Buy Local"
Winford boasted that the new Massy Stores
has cutting-edge technology and sets the bar
for the rest of the retail sector in T&T.
The size of the new Massy Stores is close
to 12,000 sq ft.
"We are rolling out a store format much
more beautiful than what was here before.
Some of the factors which make it different
include the decor, the design and the equip-
ment we use. We spent ten times more than
others in the retail sector."
He said the group owns 20 stores in T&T:
18 Massy Stores and two Discount Marts.
On June 30, 2014, the Massy Group publicly
shared its new corporate identity, including
the explanation for the change which resulted
in Hi-Lo Food Stores being rebranded as Massy
Winford said the rebranding process, so far,
has been "fantastic."
He remains optimistic about the future
growth of the stores as, he said, Massy Stores
have always led the way in the retail and super-
"We took this sector to another plateau.
Any economist would tell you it is difficult to
get data from the Central Statistical Office
(CSO), so we are not exactly sure who the
market leader is in the industry, but we have
a guess. Obviously, Massy Stores is one of the
big players in this industry. Those independent
supermarkets are also formidable. It is a very
He gave the example of price changes in
the market that can cause them to lose cus-
tomers and said they do everything to stay
alive in a highly competitive market.
"If your price goes ten cents over the com-
petition, you lose business. What we do is
give an exciting shopping experience at the
same price as the independent supermarket.
There is always room for improvement for our
customer service. On a scale of one to ten,
we maybe at seven. We have a lot of room to
grow. I believe we do a much better job than
the rest of the industry. We spend millions of
dollars training for our staff to keep us com-
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt DECEMBER 17 • 2015
Group leading in energy services,
vehicle sales and service centres
Labib Najjar, left, of Crime Stoppers, presents a Massy Stores bag, bearing the Crime Stoppers
logo, to Massy Stores CEO Derek Winford, during the opening of its Chaguanas branch on
December 11. 2015. PHOTOS: SHASTRI BOODAN
Motors, at the
opening of Massy
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