The grandmaster of Abu Dhabi Motors, the official importer of BMW, Rolls-Royce and Mini for Abu Dhabi is a true task master and leads by example. He has embraced what his father once told him and that is to be the best at whatever he does. Fate led him at an early age to work in sales for BMW in South Africa. That experience forged him and his passion for self improvement, ultimately landing in our capital almost a decade and a half back. There was no looking back for Arno Husselmann and today he leads the largest single distributor for BMW (Middle East) and Rolls-Royce (World Wide) and leads a hand picked staff that embodies his passion and clinical efficiency in customer support while providing a pure experience in owning a BMW/Mini/Rolls-Royce.
Arno Husselmann | General Manager of Abu Dhabi Motors
CarbonOctane : Three decades with BMW must have been quite a ride, in your opinion how has the brand progressed in terms of as a company
Arno Husselmann : Time certainly has flown but back in 1983 we only had the 3, 5 and 7 series to sell. Even then, BMW had great engines and chassis but we were not yet recognized as the top premium brand. That changed when the E38 7 series was launched and for the first time we had a fantastic new design where our top product also had superior technology and performance compared to our main competitor.
- The M5 was introduced and our competitors had no answer to its magnificent power train. It humbled the competition. When the E39 5 series was launched, it too leaped ahead of the competition.
- The most significant game changer came when BMW launched its first SUV, the X5. It was a brilliant model and took the market by storm. Since its introduction, we have sold X5’s like hot bread and still continue to do so today. Our X cars have proved to be enormously popular and the range has grown to include the X6, X3, X1 and the recently launched X4 which we predict will be a global and regional success without any doubt.
We have all seen BMW grown from being a niche manufacturer to being the Global Sales Leader in the premium segment today. The reason being is that BMW invests in efficient management and extremely capable engineers. We keep on producing new cars that are ahead of its time.
When BMW announced the horsepower race was over, they as usual; were correct. The authority have clamped down on reckless driving by installing numerous speed cameras, it is another good measure from them in ensuring the safety of motorists and padestrians and ensuring that UAE is a country of choice for the many expatriates who flock here to live and work. We are seeing that sales of our 4 and 6 cylinder engines are increasing by the month, whereas before the 8 cylinder engines dominated.
How did BMW set the latest trend? By introducing turbo engines across the model range to get more power from smaller engines that emit less emissions and are more environmentally friendly as well as being less thirsty. BMW has now introduced the electric i8 sports car and the i3 and thus again paving the road in making the electric cars in the premium segment acceptable. I’m sure our competitors are waiting to see the reactions, which has been more than positive and supportive worldwide.
We are also very proud to achieve the highest customer satisfaction results amongst all brands across all markets in the Middle East. This is the result of our service packages and the professional work carried out by our specialized teams. It is no surprise that we are being followed on this too by all the other manufacturers, since they all now offer some form of service package, but none them offers the comprehensive wear and tear part that we cover. Our package offers far superior protection and lower cost of ownership.
Finally, BMW has a long list of new products that are yet to be introduced and would ensure and add to our sales and enable us to maintain our position as the best-selling BMW Group importer in the Middle East and also ensure that we remain the top selling premium brand across all markets and amongst all brands in the region. We are selling double the volume of Mercedes-Benz and beat Audi by 603% year to date. For Rolls-Royce, we are the global sales leader again in 2013 and also won the Global Dealer of the year, two years in a row. This year, our BMW sales are up by more than 30% and Rolls-Royce is up by 10%. We expect to maintain the growth through till the year end.
BMW has further confirmed that the X7 will be built. A special SUV for our market. In 2016, BMW would become 100 years young and promises more incredible new products which would be introduced at that time. This year, we are setting ourselves for the launch of the 4 series Gran Coupe and the X4.
Considering the nature of the brand, the i-brand is a must for the global market. The cars are sold out till 2015 if our allocation stays as is. We need more supply. Our M cars are in a healthy shape considering that now we have the new M3/M4, M5 and the M6 Gran Coupe, the latter is what you have tested as well. These would be followed by the new X5M and the X6M next year as well as the M2.
CarbonOctane : The automotive industry here lacks leadership who are passionate about cars; they could be great in management but not true petrol-heads. You are known to be a petrol head amongst your peers, how does this quality affect the way you do business? Does it give you a positive edge in feeling the pulse of the market more?
Arno Husselmann : I have always been surprised at companies employing finance managers to run a technical business such as ours. Clearly finance plays an important part in the industry but if you do not have a clear understanding of the basics of our business, which is “retail”, you will lack the experience in guiding the management and the staff and fixing what is wrong the moment it appears.
The other factor that separates successful people from the rest is having a passion for what you do. Enjoying what you do plays an important part when having to deal with the many challenges we face. It drives you to get involved with all the details and “retail is detail”. The closer you are to the business, the faster you will notice where action is required and the quicker you will get the result. If the management lacks the knowledge and passion, it will reflect in the business.
There is no doubt, part of Abu Dhabi Motors success is because we sweat for the small stuff. I only employ managers who have a proven track record of having started at the bottom. A service manager must have started off as a technician. A sales manager must have started as a sales man. A parts manager must have started as a parts picker or administrator. When the employees get stuck, they turn to the management for guidance. Here the practical experience becomes invaluable.
Having started my career by selling cars, I can quickly identify what is lacking to facilitate more car sales and meeting and exceeding customer expectations. I make sure that those needs are fulfilled and the customer experience becomes much more enjoyable when purchasing or servicing a car at Abu Dhabi Motors.
Our passion creates respect for our responsibilities and what it means to give customer the best products and services. Experience, knowledge and passion enable us to understand the expectations of our customers better and we therefore make better decisions.
CarbonOctane : What is an average day at work like for you?
Arno Husselmann : Extremely busy!! I start the day reviewing the previous day’s results and deal with urgent matters across the business. There are always meetings lined up and I answer all e-mails personally. It is essential to walk though the properties and observe the business as well as encourage employees with a friendly face and humility. I have an open door policy for management and customers who need to see me. In this manner there is a sense of urgency in everything we do and the faster we deal with any issues the quicker we can move forward.
Regretfully there is a lot of traveling involved which I try to keep to a minimum. It is not uncommon for me to be away for a week each month.
CarbonOctane : You have access to the entire BMW range and their acquisitions, namely Rolls-Royce. Abu Dhabi is a big market and a lot of bespoke editions come your way. Do you get to drive them or say even the M series when they get launched? Perks of the trade I guess.
Arno Husselmann : Thank heavens yes!! It is a perk, but more than that, it helps us understand what we are offering our customers. The important thing about driving the products we sell is to have a true understanding of the product, which we can explain to our customer in a more informal way. For more experience, I sometimes take a competitor car, which we trade amongst ourselves to understand our competition better.
CarbonOctane : A lot of leverage comes your way since Abu Dhabi Motors does a significant turnover as a BMW dealership. How does it stack up against other leading BMW dealerships, does more sale reflect in better cooperation from the manufacture?
Arno Husselmann : We are the top selling Rolls-Royce dealer in the world, the top selling Rolls-Royce Bespoke dealer in the world, the top selling Rolls-Royce parts dealer in the world, the top selling BMW Importer in the Middle East, the top selling BMW Used Car dealer in the Middle East, the top selling BMW parts importer in the Middle East, the top selling M, Alpina and AC Schitzner Importers and most importantly we have the highest customer satisfaction results in both sales and after sales in the Middle East. We not only lead in quantity but in quality. We take our responsibilities seriously and have just been awarded the BMW Group Importer rights in Algeria and have Exclusivity for Akrapovic exhaust systems in the Middle East.
We specialize in giving customers exclusive and rare Rolls-Royce, BMW and Mini cars. For all the aforementioned, we have a reputation even in Germany. We want to present our products in the strongest light possible. We do more than our competitors regarding product offers and this too relates to the passion mentioned earlier. In addition we are the winner of the BMW “Excellence in Sales” award and have the most successful track record globally in this regard. Due to our strong presence we should have a voice in Munich and Goodwood. We stay close to our customers and the UAE is a sophisticated market where taste and demands are advanced. We can thus pass on to BMW and Rolls-Royce market trends and create new ideas regarding colors, options, models and performance measures. I had asked for a Rolls-Royce 4 wheel drive 6 years back. What makes BMW such a great company is the fact that they listen. They listen to the market and every now and then even surprises us with something unexpected and great as well.
CarbonOctane : You are also into motor bikes. Have you thought about being directly involved in enhancing the sport-bike/motorbike culture here?
Arno Husselmann : I certainly have fond memories of many enjoyable journeys on motorcycles. We are active and our Motorcycle Manager, Kamal Massad, does go on breakfast runs regularly. He also helps customers obtain a riders license. That said, more plans are underway to have a track day later this year for our loyal customers and we will cooperate and offer additional training for off-roading skills with 2 X-wheeler with whom we have a close relationship. In terms of my involvement, these days I try to spend much of my free time with my family so its motorcars for me for the time being.
CarbonOctane : Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
Arno Husselmann : I have enjoyed the first 15 years with Abu Dhabi Motors immensely even if my hair prematurely went white. I do hope that I can achieve 30 years with Abu Dhabi Motors so that takes care of the next 15 years. It will be an enormously pleasurable achievement to do this if the Owners of Abu Dhabi Motors so please. There is still much to achieve and the challenge is to see how far we can take Abu Dhabi Motors in growing the business and the standards we are aiming for.
In terms of customer service, we keep evaluating where we can improve. Our customer service satisfaction scores have averaged above 95% year to date and our sales scores are above 97%. We cannot re-invent the wheel but the devil lies in the details. Soon, I will announce an important change to our existing service and repair packages which will again create a further gap between what Abu Dhabi Motors offer and the rest. Two existing features are pretty much stand alone attractions which differentiate us for the other dealerships. We have a theatre where we entertain our customers as well as a F1 simulation. It’s that going beyond the expectations of a customers that keeps them coming back to us.
CarbonOctane : Other than BMW, which other manufacturer inspires you?
Arno Husselmann : Rolls-Royce bar none!! There is no other brand more refined to drive and radiate brand prestige than Rolls-Royce. It is the most prestigious brand in the world. They are fantastic cars to own and drive. It is motoring nirvana.
CarbonOctane : What is your favorite BMW?
Arno Husselmann : That’s a tough one. For ride comfort and superb performance, I would go for the 7 series. For presence and speed, it would be the 754hp BMW M6 Gran Coupe or an equally modified M5. The new M3/M4 are the choice for every day fun. It’s packed with unparalleled driving dynamics and brings a grin on your face no matter how bad of a day you may have had.
|Abu Dhabi Motors|
|Location||Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum St.|
|United Arab Emirates|
|Opening Hours||Sat – Thurs : 8:30am – 9:00pmFriday : 4:00pm – 9:00pm|
|Social Media||FaceBook : https://www.facebook.com/BMWADM|
|Instagram : @abudhabimotors|
|Tel:||+971 2 507 5800|