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“When we first started in 2006, we only dealt with used cars. Three years later, we expanded to used commercial vehicles. We have earned the trust of discerning truck buyers, from single truck operators to fleet customers, which paved our way to a new commercial vehicle dealership. The opportunity came when ATM approached us,” said Jeff Siew, one of the company founders.
Siew said Element Autolink was chosen because ATM saw its potential. The majority of the established players in the market already had their dealerships, he said. Some had more than one brand and partnered with different manufacturers or suppliers.
“Though we are a young company, we are very energetic. More importantly, we are willing to invest and grow with ATM, and work closely with them to build their two brands – Foton Bison and Auman – in the market. We have great confidence in ATM as it is one of the subsidiaries of Warisan TC Holdings Bhd. Being a member of the Tan Chong Group, apart from having its own network, ATM has the strong back-up of the Group’s extensive sales and after-sales network, a fully equipped local assembly plant and experienced skilled manpower. In addition, ATM could support our customers with good after-sales and dedicated mobile service as well as 24/7 Res-Q service.”
Element Autolink carries a full range of ATM’s products, from Bison Savanna pick-ups and light trucks to the Auman prime movers, on and off-road dump trucks, tippers and cement mixer trucks.
China Commercial Vehicles Brands Gaining Greater Acceptance
Siew said China Commercial Vehicle brands were gaining greater acceptance in the local market. Strong and good after-sales service had distinguished ATM from the other Chinese brand providers.
Foton Bison and Auman were manufactured by Beiqi Foton Motor in China, he explained, which had been operating since 1996. In 2015, the company was ranked 4th in China’s auto industry and 1st in that country’s commercial vehicle segment.
“When ATM brought in the first batch of Bisons, they were Complete Built Up (CBU) units and there were some minor issues due to certain parts of the vehicle being not withstanding our local weather. However, these issues were sorted out with the Complete Knocked Down (CKD) units that use more local content such as parts that could withstand our weather conditions. This shows that ATM is very responsive and always strive to provide the best quality.”
Of course, he continued, the existing customers were always the best source for future business.
“We have a customer that only believes in Japanese brands; we finally convinced him to try Bison and he is satisfied with the performance. Furthermore, Bison light trucks come standard with a 4-year warranty, which reflects ATM’s confidence in its products’ quality and durability. We can also provide a comparison between Bison and the other brands of light trucks in price, performance, maintenance, fuel efficiency, just to name a few, to help our customer make an informed decision. The Bison light truck is reliable, durable and economical; it is truly a workhorse. This is especially so for the Bison BJ1039 with 5,000kg Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW); it is ideal for high load capacity for volume transport.”
Siew also stressed that the company’s customers never encountered any major issues with their Bison light trucks and Auman prime movers. Spare-parts were easily available in the market whether it was a minor or major part, through authorised ATM’s service centres nationwide or independent spare-part shops.
He said ATM was very supportive to its dealers. Apart from the dealer conference, product information and training, ATM also shared with Element Autolink its marketing strategies. “They treated us as a business partner and are willing to go the extra mile in taking their time to meet our customers, helping us to close deals and backing us on the technical aspects.”
Specialising in Custom Food Trucks
The company specialises in custom food trucks. “We work closely with body builders and can handle everything from A to Z, giving our customers peace of mind. When you choose Element Autolink, you are choosing a company that understands your business and trucking needs. For food trucks, from placing an order to delivery it would take about 4 to 6 weeks.”
Being a 1S dealer of ATM, Siew expressed the company’s ambition of expanding to offer spare-parts, maintenance and repair services. He said it planned to become a 3S dealer in 2 to 3 years’ time.
For this year, the company aimed for a 15- to 20-per cent sales growth. To achieve the target, he said, it would continue to participate in exhibitions and work closely with the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) on the Smart Trucks programme.
“The Selangor Smart Truck programme is part of the state government’s long-term plan to create a systematic business structure for hawkers in line with the goal of making Selangor a smart city. In short, it means getting hawkers off the streets and into food trucks. When they launched the programme, we were there to display our food truck and share our innovative concept and solution. We see a great potential in this segment.”
In 2015, the state government approved a RM140-million annual budget for its new Hijrah micro-credit loans for budding entrepreneurs, including food truck operators. The programme offers loans of between RM3,000 and RM50,000, which would enable the operators to at least afford a down-payment for their business or buy a truck.
“To boost sales, we will continue to carry out different promotions every quarter. If ATM has any promotions, we will join in or we will conduct our own campaigns.”
Besides Foton Bison and Auman brands, Element Autolink is also a dealer for ERA Jinbei and Foton View passenger van. Other services that the company provides, besides new and used commercial vehicle sales, are new and used car sales, customisation of truck from conceptual design to product delivery, as well as finance and insurance services.
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