It started with a single car display at the ‘pasar malam’ (meaning night market in Malay) and a mobile office in the form of a laptop and a photocopier machine in the boot.
“That was how I started out in the car business back in August 2008 – it was just me and my girlfriend and we would do our own roadshow at pasar malams. We couldn’t afford to have a showroom so we worked on the go,” said 26-year-old entrepreneur Benjamin Yeo, managing director of pre-owned car specialist Urban Motors Pte Ltd.
The meaning behind the name Urban Motors is simply ‘supplying cars to the city’.
From the tough times at the night markets, Urban Motors finally got a roof over its head in April 2009 with its first showroom at Automobile Megamart #02-20 and increased staff strength to six.
However, Urban Motors had to switch from selling parallel imported cars to pre-owned cars in the fourth quarter of 2009 as a result of the drastic reductions in COE quota.
“We were forced to change our business focus due to the economy. We were too small to sustain such a capital-intensive business so we had to make a revamp and sell pre-owned instead of parallel imports,” Benjamin added.
Prospects for Urban Motors dimmed in 2010 when cash flow and manpower problems were encountered.
“It came to a point where I was the only one left in the company. That was somewhere in the middle of 2010. It was all a vicious cycle – I didn’t have enough funds to get more cars, so I didn’t have a big enough fleet to attract more customers and I couldn’t get manpower to sell the cars because no one wanted to work for a company which had such a small fleet to sell,” Benjamin shared.
Still, Benjamin never gave up and kept his chin up.
The turning point for Urban Motors came in April 2011 when Benjamin managed to put together an effective eight-strong team. Business picked up and in December 2011, Urban Motors opened its second showroom, their flagship boutique at Automobile Megamart #01-10.
Six months later, Urban Motors is expanding yet again with the upcoming opening of its third showroom at Automobile Megamart #02-13. It is now run by a workforce of over 30 with a stable of 70 cars.
Recognising that aftersales is more important than sales, Urban Motors also understands how essential it is to have a support framework, thus giving a 12-month warranty and 24/7 islandwide roadside assistance programme to its customers.
The next step for Urban Motors’ expansion is to have its own workshop and another showroom in the Leng Kee automotive belt. Ultimately, the aim is for Urban Motors to have its own premises that will house a one-stop mega centre of showrooms, workshops and even a kids’ corner.
Urban Motors Pte Ltd
61 Ubi Avenue 2
#01-10 / #02-20
T: +65 6747 1110 / +65 6841 1110