The Driving Force Behind Al Haddad Motors Mercedes Benz
BY ANAAM IKRAM
From a young age, General Manager of Al Haddad Motors Mercedes Benz, Graeme Newport, knew the automotive industry would be his calling. Having spent his entire working career in the automobile industry, Graeme has been fortunate enough to work all over the world, eventually finding his way to Bahrain as General Manager of Al Haddad Motors Mercedes Benz.
The car dealership, which is exclusive to Mercedes Benz, has been in the region for over 50 years and has made great strides – especially in the last four years. Al Haddad Motors has successfully made a name for itself catering to the specific needs of its customers since it’s opening and continues to strive to be the best amongst automobile industry. Splitting his time between the Showroom and the After-Sales Centre, Graeme ensures his expertise and the support of his team come together to provide a wholesome experience for their customers. The busy General Manager made time to speak to Perle Magazine about his journey in the industry and where it stands in Bahrain today.
You cannot work in the automotive industry without having an affinity for customers’ likes and dislikes.
After getting to experience the excitement of the automotive industry first-hand at the age of 17, Graeme pursued his passion for automobiles and started his career in the United Kingdom’s motor industry and hasn’t left the industry since. Working across different continents from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Graeme notes the industry is greatly varied within each of its departments and each brand has an entirely different customer-base from region to region. “You cannot work in the automotive industry without having an affinity for customers’ likes and dislikes.
You have to get to know the customer,” he says. He adds that he finds himself lucky having moved to Bahrain in 1999, as it provides a more authentic feel of the Middle East. “It is consistent” Graeme says of Bahrain’s automobile market. He credits the government for ensuring consistency by adding a set of rules and regulations that cannot be broken.
Detailing the tasks of his role as General Manager, Graeme says that among managing the main office located in the Al Haddad Motors Mercedes Benz showroom and the After-Sales Centre, it is necessary for him to make sure his teams are working in harmony for ultimate customer satisfaction. Placing great emphasis on positive attitude and willingness to learn, Graeme says that during the process of hiring, it is important to evaluate whether or not the candidate is eager to understand the rules and regulations of the company. “We have to have people that are going to follow, understand what they are going to follow and why”, he says. His leadership skills have allowed him to maintain synergy between himself and the teams, which makes it easier to delegate jobs or have them make decisions in his absence, as he would naturally support them.
Graeme stresses that it is key to not only look at the short-term objectives for the company, but also plan medium and long-term, keeping the future always in mind. “The future is certainly exciting for Al Haddad Motors” he says, adding that the car dealership is working on grand projects to provide a better customer experience. Focusing on expanding services, Al Haddad Motors’ showroom will offer its customers both sales and car-service facilities under the same roof. “Having sales and service teams close by will give us much easier communication between the two departments”, Graeme notes. Along with the expansion of the showroom, between now and 2020 Mercedes Benz passenger car range will also be increased by another 10 models in addition to the current 30 models and their variants, bringing the number closer to 50 in total.
The new showroom will be fully equipped with good reception facilities, iPads, televisions, and reading space, alongside the current AMG Simulator to create a modern-luxury environment. To alleviate any parking issues, there will be an underground parking built for both sales and service customers. Focusing also on their used car brand, ProvenExclusivity, Graeme explains those cars will also be given the same treatment and credibility as the Mercedes Benz new cars. The used cars will also be placed up-front in the display making room in the back for the workshop area. Al Haddad Motors Mercedes Benz is taking measures to ensure their diverse customers are well catered to.
“I have been in the industry for more than 25 years and it has been a great working with lots of different automotive brands,” Graeme says of his experience so far. He advises those looking to embark on career journey in this industry should work towards getting experience in all areas of a car dealership or the automotive operations as much as possible. Knowing the needs of a customer, he says, goes beyond a specific job role and that everyone should come together and work towards it. “All of the departments are equally reliant on each other”, he says, “One thing this industry does necessitate is team players, because you are only as good as your colleagues who are part of the chain.”
For more information on Al Haddad Motors Mercedes Benz:
(00973) 1778 5454
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