This is a large group, of which some companies are industrial, some trade in the automotive business, and some are involved in investments in the tourism business and other areas. Lebanon is the base for this family business, and this was the starting point for growth around the region.
In 2011 we are doing better than we expected in terms of car sales. The market is quite interesting for such a small country. People see cars as an investment as they don’t lose much value on resale.
We have opened a large truck and car service center to help people from the north do business across the country. This is successful as it is very expensive to buy or rent within Beirut. We have employees in the hundreds working to keep things running smoothly.
DEMAND FOR LUXURY
There is a good level of purchasing power here right now, and the percentage of luxury cars as a total of all new car sales is quite high. Around 10% of the market consists of luxury cars.
For over 60 years we have been the exclusive distributor of Jaguar, Fiat, and Bentley. In 2005 we added Lamborghini and in April 2011 we became the exclusive distributor of the Abarth brand.
The whole Lebanese market witnessed an increase in sales in 2008. Between 2005 and 2007, around 15,000 cars were sold in the sector per year, whereas in 2008 the figure jumped to 33,000, and it has stayed around that mark ever since.
We started back in 1998 offering only small boats from three American brands: Regal, Fountain, and Pro-Line. By 2008 we became the main provider for the whole of the Middle East, covering most of the major brands.
Since 2008 we have been opening offices all around the Arab region, in Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Our next target is Qatar, but Lebanon remains a priority for us. We would like to see the development of a large service center, as Lebanon has the potential to be a boating hub.
When we talk about branding we talk about Lebanon. Arabs from the region like to come to Lebanon to shop, and so it is an important hub in the region. Lebanon is also in an incredibly suitable area for boating—Turkey and Greece are accessible for day trips, while Italy is accessible for trips of a few days.
ALBERT L. BASSOUL
WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE
As an agent of Renault for 60 years we are one of the oldest in the world. In addition, we also act as distributors for BMW. With BMW we are the number one company selling luxury cars in Lebanon, and Renault is the number one company selling European cars in Lebanon.
STRAIGHT FROM THE FACTORY
We import straight from the factory. For example, Renault sends us some cars from Europe and some from Turkey by truck. They all come as finished products. Around 30% of our Renault supply comes from Turkey, the rest comes from France and Romania. And, of course, all of our BMWs come from Germany.
Competition is fierce here as all major brands are present in the country. We offer the best service and have a passion for excellence. We always try to be the best, as having great service means people will always come back.
© The Business Year