Stafford Motor, official distributor of Honda in Sri Lanka has an intriguing tale behind its journey. Dr Kalinga Kaluperuma, Managing Director/CEO of Stafford Motor recounts this spectacular journey of the company spanning many decades.
By Krishani Peiris
Photography Mahesh Bandara
Stafford Motor was founded in 1977, by the late Felix R de Zoysa who was awarded the Honda distributorship in 1960s. ”Till about 1981 we enjoyed about 80-90 percent of the motorcycle market share in Sri Lanka, so much so that a motorcycle was known as a Honda and not as a motorcycle,” said Dr Kaluperuma reflecting on the company’s early years. Afterwards due to the appreciation of the Japanese Yen and other brands coming into the market, in 1987, Stafford Motor started importing Hero Honda motorcycles from India. With that by the early 1990s, the company was again able to establish itself as a competitive distributor. Furthermore, from 1985, Stafford Motor started importing Honda motor vehicles creating a wider market segment for the Honda brand in Sri Lanka.
The product portfolio of the company include motor cars, motorcycles and power products like generators, water pumps and general purpose engines. ”We promote one of the best brands available in the world. Also if you take the technology it is exclusively from Japan and Honda has some of the best R&D facilities in the world,” asserted Dr Kaluperuma.
With A Vision And A Mission Of Being One The Most Respected And Sought After Transport Vehicle Providers In Sri Lanka, Stafford Motor Considers After-Sales Services An Integral Part Of Operations, In Order To Sustain A High Level Of Customer Satisfaction.
Armed with an island-wide dealer network of nearly 500 dealers to cover the motorcycle sales, spare parts and service demand of the Island, Stafford Motor endeavours to provide the best possible service to its clientele. Not with stopping there, the company also provides after sales services by monitoring customer satisfaction regularly and taking corrective actions and by opening an after sales facility in Boralasgamuwa. The service facility in Boralasgamuwa houses a central spare parts storage facility, state-of the art motorcycle workshop, body repair and paint workshop for automobiles. “The service facility was a special highlight for us in 2012, since it further strengthens our commitment to deliver a high quality after-sales service to our customers,” said Dr Kaluperuma. The company also launched a new range of Honda motorcycles in 2012. Currently there are 11 motorcycles and scooters in the product line and a few more would be introduced in 2013. Further, in order to consolidate its presence in the Eastern region of the island, Stafford Motor opened a branch in Batticaloa for power products and motorcycles while an after sales facility was also added to the branch.
With a vision and a mission of being one the most respected and sought after transport vehicle providers in Sri Lanka, Stafford Motor considers after-sales services an integral part of operations, in order to sustain a high level of customer satisfaction. Furthermore, focusing on selling vehicles that are suitable for the Sri Lankan market, Dr Kaluperuma surmised that “there is a growth potential in the hybrid market, especially with the duty concessions that have been granted.” Therefore, Stafford Motor is gearing up to launch the new Honda Hybrid models to the market in the near future. This will help to further their environmental initiatives as they strive to adopt Honda’s global environmental slogan of ‘Blue Skies for Our Children’.
Catering to a niche market, Stafford Motor has conducted many promotions to attract and applaud customers. The most popular campaign is ‘scooter cash back millionaire’ that allow one customer to win one million rupees and 20 more to win Rs 200,000 each. This is carried out in 2013 for the second time ,in the wake of the campaigns’ success two years ago. The company recently also carried out a special motorscycles’ service and spare part campaign in Jaffna garnering much attention from the people in the Northern part of Sri Lanka. Equipped with an exceptional display truck and a special mini bus, converted to a mobile workshop, Stafford Motor hopes to carry over the success gained in Jaffna to the East, North Central and all other parts of the country in the future.
The work force of the company includes nearly 420 dedicated personnel who undertake much responsibility and multi task to provide the best for their company.
Stafford Motor is also celebrated for its corporate cricket teams that have won many awards and accolades since the 1970s. The company hopes to win the Mercantile Cricket Sixes Tournament of the C division this year adding yet another accolade to their name. Furthermore, the 2013 brand ambassador for Honda motorcycles, of Stafford Motor is renowned Sri Lankan motorcycle and motocross champion Gayan Sandaruwan and with him the company hopes to market their sports motorcycle range.
“We at Stafford Motor, are focusing only on Honda and whatever the manufacturer thinks will suit our market, we will introduce it. As Honda is currently focusing heavily on Asia, I am sure that in the future there will be many new exciting products coming in,” concluded Dr Kaluperuma.