Hyundai, a strong South Korean automobile brand specialized mainly in production of saloon and SUV cars, has established a strong regional presence with a recent launch in Rwanda courtesy of OGEPAR—a multinational automobile dealer operating in Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo.
You can now drive any latest model of Hyundai with no hustles. All you need to do is to visit any of OGEPAR’s regional selling points, namely; Rwanda Motors in Kigali, Burundi Motors in Bujumbura and DR Congo Motors in Bukavu.
Speaking to Hope Magazine recently, the Managing Director of Rwanda Motor Mr. Hugues Lefebvre said a number of private and public institutions and individual clients are happy about the product—Hyundai.
On Thursday 17th of November 2011 Rwanda Motor launched Hyundai in Rwanda, becoming a new addition on automobile-brand-distribution list. The company is also the official distributor of Land Rover, Suzuki and Ford in Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo.
At a colorful cocktail organized at Rwanda Motor gardens next to the showroom at Gikondo Industrial Area, Mr. Hugues says Guests, mainly representative of Government and private institutions, NGOs and individuals attended in high numbers.
Three models were unveiled, including; Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Tucson and Hyundai Elantra—all are perfect for the Rwandan market, especially for institutions looking for greater efficiency in fleet management in terms of reliability, affordability and durability.
Hyundai Accent is sleek. It is a 4-door, 5-passenger family sedan available in 3 trims, ranging from the GL 3-door to the SE 3-Door. Both trims are equipped with 1.6litre, 110horsepower engine that achieves 28-mpg in the city and 34-mpg on the highway. A 5-speed manual transmission and overdrive is standard, and a 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is optional.
Hyundai Tucson is extra special. It is a 4-door, 5-passenger sport-utility available in 10 trims, ranging from the GL Manual 4WD to the Limited Auto AWD PZEV. It is equipped with a standard 2.0 litre, 164-horsepower engine that achieves 20-mpg in the city and 27-mpg on the highway. A 5-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard.
Hyundai Elantra is a 4-door, 5-passenger family sedan, available in 3 trims. All trims are equipped with a standard 1.8litre, 148-hoprsepower engine that achieves 29-mpg in the city and 40-mpg on the highway. A 6-speed manual and automatic transmission options with overdrive to standard.
The 2012 Models of these Hyundai brands are available on the market. Other Hyundai exciting models include Hyundai Equus, Hyundai Genesis, Hyundai Santa Fe Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Veloster, and Hyundai Veracruz.
Now Rwanda Motor can reliably supply any model desired by the client, either direct from the manufacturing plant in South Korea or courtesy of its distributing partner Hyundai East Africa.
At the launch, the representative of Hyundai East Africa Mr. Sam Lee also attended—an indication of even a stronger partnership.
Mr. Hugues explains that Hyundai approached OGEPAR about a year ago, inspected their facility and business operations model and were satisfied.
Officially, OGEPAR now becomes the official distributor of Hyundai in Burundi, Eastern DR Congo and Rwanda through its local selling offices; Rwanda Motor, Burundi Motor, and DR Congo Motor.
It is highly believed that the brand will sell in the region based on its high quality and features that suit the market. The ban on importation of Right Hand Drive (RHD) vehicles has never been lifted in Rwanda. Hyundai now supplies specially Left Hand Drive (LHD) to Rwanda market. Through the environment protection policy of controlling carbon emissions, Rwanda is also discouraging importation of used cars (especially from Japan and some parts of Europe and America). Rwanda Motor sells brand new hybrid Hyundai vehicles that meet standards and requirements of Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA).
In Africa, only Toyota beats Hyundai in terms of market share in the automobile industry simply because whereas Toyota manufactures pickups, Hyundai doesn’t. But if you remove pickups, Hyundai dominates the African market.
He explains that Rwanda Motors is already in talks with some public and private institutions to see how sales can be closed through the leasing option. “I hope institutions will find Hyundai an exciting product. We offer a guarantee of 48 months and an attractive after-sales service package, including; major and minor repairs to the vehicle, maintenance, routine servicing and change of tyres. During that period, we can also provide a chauffeur, if needed”, he explained.
For individual buyers, Mr. Hugues says they can either pay cash or arrange to pay using credit lines with their individual banks.
Coming Soon: TATA Rwanda
In a few coming weeks, Mr. Hugues reveals that OGEPAR will yet again sign with TATA to be the distributor of Indian-made TATA vehicles, including trucks, pickups and cars in Rwanda. “All preparations for the launch are underway and we hope to launch soon. We want to be really ready that is why containers of spare parts are on the way and stock (vehicles) as well,” he disclosed. He regards this as a move to give their clients options. “It is part of customer satisfaction. We want to be able to offer a variety of options to our clients to choose from”.
Stock & Spare Parts
In the backyard at Rwanda Moto premises at Gikondo there’re hundreds of brand new Hyundai, Suzuki, and Ford vehicles parked ready for sale. Mr. Hugues says Rwanda Motor sells brand new cars straight from the factory at zero kilometers. The company ensures that stock is adequately replenished. “We make all necessary order in time to avoid customer dissatisfaction”.
In terms of spare parts, he says Rwanda Moto takes no chances. “We keep stock for spare parts worth about US$500,000 annually. Orders are well managed to ensure seamless flow of work. Right now, a 40-ft container is at Dar el Salaam, another is on the way and another is being offloaded as it is inspected by Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) at the bonded warehouse (MAGERWA”.
A number of individual car owners and institutions have resorted to Rwanda Moto for quality spare parts, imported directly from the manufacturers (Suzuki, Land Rover and Hyundai). This of course saves them lots of money and risks involved in using substandard spare parts circulated in the market.
To remain competitive is the quite dynamic automobile industry; Rwanda Moto is investing a lot of resources in training staff to equip them with necessary skills to offer a good service. In this regard, Mr. Hugues says a number of Rwanda Moto staff mechanics have benefited both in-house and external training. “We have sent some of our staff to Land Rover, Ford and Suzuki for hands on training on latest automobile mechanics. Occasionally we recruit from outside Rwanda just to ensure that we deliver a good service”. The head of mechanical division at Rwanda Moto is an experienced Asian origin
Diversification: Other Investments
OGEPAR is expanding its business tentacles to a number of sectors, including construction, tourism and hospitality and manufacturing.
Following the exit of a Libyan investor Laico from a partly (40%) Government owned Umubano Hotel; now the 60% stake in the hotel is again up for sale. Although about ten prospective buyers expressed interest, Mr. Hugues confirms it is only OGEPAR that successfully submitted its bid on time—no challenger at this moment. He says if the deal the concluded, the hotel will be to carry the name of ELIAS Hotel, which is a brand name for the consortium’s chain of hotels. There’s also ELIAS Hotel in DR Congo.
With the booming construction sector in Rwanda, OGEPAR through its subsidiary company called Procol is supplying unique, quality affordable roofing materials, imported from Europe. At Rwanda Moto showroom at Gikondo, there is a display of some of these roofing materials. Mr. Hugues says a number of clients have used these materials are appreciating the quality. They come is different sizes and colour so as to cater for varying consumer demands. There is enough stock to respond to any demand.
The Burundi-based Anglo Belgium Corporation (ABC), another subs-diary company of OGEPAR is constructing heavy duty hydropower engines. Mr. Hugues says ABC can construct any power engine with specifications that meet client’s needs. A case in point, ABC has supplied hydropower engines to EWSA (Electricity, Water and Sanitation Authority). It also supplies engines for railway locomotives.
Giving Back to Community—Hyundai Mobile Clinics
In the previous issue of Hope Magazine, we reported a donation of two Hyundai-made state-of-the-art mobile clinics worth over Rwf200million by the Korean Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH) through the Korean Government to Rwanda Military Hospital (RMH). Through an outreach programme, the Hyundai-made mobile clinics equipped with Radiology and Ultra Sound Clinic Equipment, are visiting villages and are treating poor Rwandans different kinds of illness.