6 - 12 June, 2001

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Daewoo back in showrooms

The brand name ‘Daewoo’ has been synonymous in Malta with political bickering, controversy and scandal over the past two years, ending in bankruptcy for the Maltese franchise that distributed the automobiles on the island.

But on Friday, the JF Group of Companies will announce that it has been awarded the exclusive distributorship of Daewoo passenger cars, with the result that these automobiles will once again be on the Maltese market.

Group general manager, John Farrugia, admitted to The Business Times that one of the company’s prime objectives during Friday’s launch will be to make it clear to the public via the media that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the previous company representing Daewoo in Malta.

"We will also be stressing that our appointment came to us directly through the parent company," he said.

Daewoo hit the headlines in a ping-pong political scandal when the local franchise got engulfed in financial problems following the sanctioning of heavy loans to the company from Bank of Valletta.

The Labour party made veiled insinuations about the current Finance minister John Dalli because he had been a consultant to the company.

But these have been shot down since no loans were taken when Mr Dalli was acting as a consultant. In fact, the heavy loans were sanctioned when MLP appointee, Reno Borg, was chairman of the Bank of Valletta

Asked whether he was concerned that JF Group of Companies might have an uphill task to repair the damage left by the adverse publicity that has surrounded the name Daewoo, Mr Farrugia said he was confident that once the local market had settled down and become acquainted with the name of the new distributor, business would progress well.

"We are aware of the previous problems, but the initial feedback we have received is that the market will not take long to adjust and is, in fact, already gathering momentum," he said.

JF Motors Ltd, a member of the JF Group, was awarded the exclusive distributorship of Daewoo passenger cars in Malta on 1 April. The group, which will also launch its new corporate image and website on Friday, consists of five companies: John’s Garage Ltd, John’s Autocare Ltd, Sunrays Travel and Tourism Ltd, PowerPlan Ltd and JF Motors Ltd.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt