Glenn Tan: Involved in Automotive Business Since Childhood

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He is young. He is smart. And he is an expert in the automotive business. Meet Glenn Tan, group chief executive of PT Motor Image Group. PT Motor Image Group is the company that distributes, sells and provides service for Subaru cars in the Asia region, covering Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, South China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia.  

Talking to Tan means talking and discussing the automotive industry. For Tan, it is an industry that keeps developing. Despite being hit by the global economic crisis, Tan says the automotive industry still has a chance to grow in the region, including in Indonesia, thanks to the wide market geography and segment as well as the various types of customers in the country.

Indonesia, indeed, has a huge growing market. Automotives are nothing new for this good looking man, who was born in Singapore on Feb. 5, 1978.  

He has known it since childhood because he was born into a family that ran an automotive business. “My family has been in the business for 50 years. That allows me to understand the automotive industry,” said Tan, who is a go-cart enthusiast.  

Tan is also in charge of Tan Chong International Limited following his appointment as the company’s executive director.

“That means I have to take care all of the businesses under the management of Tan Chong,” he said.  

Tan joined the Singapore office of Motor Image Group in 2001. As the chief executive, he oversees the business and its development as well as the marketing of Subaru cars all over the Asia region, including Indonesia. Motor Image Group works in cooperation with Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru’s Japan-based holding company since 1986, said Tan.  

He acknowledges that Subaru is not as popular as other cars in Indonesia for a variety of reasons. However, he is sure that Subaru has potential in the country.

“We will continue to introduce Subaru to Indonesians and improve its image,” he said optimistically.  

With Subaru’s Indonesian sales increasing annually, the company is targeting to sell 200 cars in 2010. The Japanese yen has started to strengthen, which is good for Subaru. To boost Subaru sales in Indonesia, Tan is working on breakthroughs and is confident that sales will increase significantly.  

According to Tan, the most popular Subaru vehicle is the Forester. This third generation cross-over SUV has received many international awards. It has a sophisticated design and better features, making the car more luxurious.

Other vehicles include the Subaru R1 and R2 as well as the Subaru Exiga, which is a multipurpose vehicle. Launched in Indonesia in early October, the Subaru Exiga has received a warm welcome from the public.

“The Subaru Exiga will find its own market, which is different from the others’ market. With a unique glass roof, theater-style seats and smart turbo drive, the Exiga is the perfect choice for smart customers,” he said.   

Tan is aware of the tight competition in Indonesia, saying that other car brands haunt Subaru. To cope with this, Tan will take several measures, including expanding the dealer network. By doing so, he expects sales to increase significantly.  

Subaru has a Subaru On-Site Service (SOS) program to ensure customer satisfaction. Subaru owners who have any trouble with their cars, for example if their car breaks down or is not running properly, can be rest assured about service. They do not need to call a tow truck but can instead call SOS and a mobile mechanic will immediately come.  

With the SOS program, Subaru is expanding its service area coverage. Subaru service advisors will help customers identify any problem and certified SOS mechanics (trained at the Motor Image Subaru Academy, Singapore) will show up to solve it.

“With SOS, there is no more problem. Customers do not need to drive to our workshop to have their cars fixed,” Tan said.  

Besides improving the service and increasing dealers, the management is also developing its human resources by providing them with training.

The training is also aimed at encouraging them to contribute more to the company’s progress. This includes training for mechanics at the Subaru Motor Image Academy, which produces professional and reliable mechanics.  

Like other businesspeople and professionals, Tan believes one should never stop learning and always be open to new ideas.

“In living our life and working, we have to keep learning. We learn things every day. Besides, we also have to believe in our capacity and should be open to new ideas,” he said.   

Tan has little time for fun. But whenever he does have time, he likes to spend it go-carting, either by himself or with friends. It is fun and it gets the adrenaline pumping. (Faisal Chaniago)

The Jakarta Post, December 23, 2009

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