Al Fahim talks commercial vehicles in the UAE
Frank Bernthaler, discusses Al Fahim’s activities within the commercial vehicles sphere
PMV: What is your job position at Al Fahim Group?
Frank Bernthaler: As CEO of automotive at Al Fahim Group, my role revolves around the brands that our companies represent. These include Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, Fiat, Michelin, Bosch, Skil, Dremel, Osram, Knorr-Bremse, and Garrett.
Our main goals are to ensure sustainable growth, and to deliver the best customer experience within all of our companies: Emirates Motor Company (EMC), Western Motors (WM), Eastern Motors (EM), and Central Motors & Equipment (CM&E).
PMV: How’s business for Al Fahim’s commercial vehicle (CV) brands?
FB: 2014 was a success for Al Fahim Group’s automotive companies, and for CV brands in particular. We delivered significant numbers of vans, and achieved record sales for heavy trucks. In 2014, CM&E was recognised by Robert Bosch Middle East as its best performer in the region. In addition, Phillips 66 Lubricants, one of the largest finished-lubricant suppliers in North America, named CM&E its authorised dealer and marketer for the UAE.
PMV: What are Al Fahim’s most popular CV products in the UAE at present?
FB: If we look at EMC’s Mercedes-Benz truck range, the most popular models are the Actros 3848S tractor head; the Actros 4040 chassis cab, suitable for 9m3 concrete mixers and 18m3 tipping bodies; and the Actros 3340S tractor head, suitable for 8,500-gallon fuel-tank trailers.
For vans, the Mercedes-Benz Vito Compact – suitable for airport transfers and large taxis – is extremely popular.
Abu Dhabi-headquartered WM and Al Ain-based EM, meanwhile, supply Fiat Fiorino and Ducato models, which also increased in popularity during 2014.
PMV: What have been your major CV orders of late, and how did you go about securing them?
FB: In 2011 and 2012, we worked closely with TransAd on an airport taxi project. The company required some changes to be made to the specifications. To ensure satisfaction, we supplied two demonstration units before an order was placed. Subsequently, TransAd ordered the Vito 115CDI vans from EMC for airport taxis.
This success allowed us to further grow our business within this sector. In 2013, we supplied TransAd with a customised demo unit. In 2014, they ordered 270 Vito City Taxi 111 CDI vehicles.
CM&E, meanwhile, signed a three-year service and supply agreement with Agility and Tristar Transport & Contracting Company. We also received major orders for tyres from Western Baynoona in the final quarter of 2014.
PMV: What are your priorities for the coming year?
FB: Currently, we are focused on opening a new Michelin Tyre and Service Centre (MTSC) by mid-2015. This will offer truck-tyre changing and balancing; engine and oil servicing; the regrooving and repair of truck tyres; wheel alignment; and many other services.