The sole Mercedes-Benz distributor in Abu Dhabi has gone from strength to strength since being founded in the 1960s. Today, Emirates Motor Company is the shining star of the Al Fahim Group and last year the company reported its best ever results.
Mercedes-Benz distributor's success reflects Abu Dhabi growth
When Abdul Jalil Al Fahim imported his first Mercedes-Benz vehicles in 1962, Abu Dhabi had no streets and very few cars.
That year he sold just four vehicles.
But by 1964 his new dealership, Emirates Motor Company (EMC), had become the authorised distributor for Mercedes in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and construction had started on the flagship showroom on Airport Road in the capital.
As the years passed, sales ticked up and the showroom expanded. In 1995, the company had to add more buildings to its Airport Road base to accommodate the growing number of employees.
In 2008 it relocated to Mussafah, establishing the world's largest Mercedes-Benz facility, measuring about 92,000 square metres.
Today, more than five decades after it was founded, EMC remains the sole dealer for Mercedes in the emirate and one of the most successful businesses in the country.
"It started at a time when there were really no roads in Abu Dhabi and very poor infrastructure and it grew with the emirate, with the country," says Kamal Rafih, the general manager of EMC, the flagship company of the Al Fahim Group.
"It started to take off after Sheikh Zayed came into power and when the development programme started in Abu Dhabi and when they started to have roads infrastructure, people coming into the country, more projects, more construction and then it started to grow together," he adds.
Sales have risen and fallen over the years in line with the car industry's fortunes.
"During the recession, 2009 and 2010 there was a serious drop but since 2011, 2012 and this year there has been steady growth," says Mr Rafih.
In fact, last year was the company's best ever, with a 26 per cent increase on 2011 sales.
The most popular model was the E-Class while the CLS registered a 41 per cent increase.
But G-Class models are also very popular here, according to Mr Rafih, with new GL and GLK models launched in the second half of last year.
"It's the design. It's the association with people who drive it. It's the power of the car and it combines classic with modern, so classic design with up-to-date features so people just love it," he says.
"Mercedes is a premium brand and people in Abu Dhabi appreciate value and premium cars. They look for safety, innovation, for reliability, for durability. All these things are available in Mercedes cars."
EMC said last week the prestigious, all-new Mercedes S Class 2014 model, had arrived in its showrooms, and the firm also announced an increase of 7 per cent in sales for the first half of the year compared with the same period last year.
"With the exciting launch of the long-awaited all-new Mercedes-Benz S Class 2014, our loyal customers and Mercedes-Benz admirers are eager to explore this dazzling invention," says Mr Rafih on the company website.
"This is evident in the long list of orders we have been receiving from our valuable customers since last year.
"Hundreds of bookings have been requested and we are striving to deliver to our dear customers their lavish dream cars."