In the 16 years since its inception, Silver Star Auto has created and maintained an impressive market share for Mercedes-Benz in Ghana’s automotive market—and is now set to expand its network even further.
Blessed with an abundance of natural resources that include gold, diamonds, bauxite and manganese, the West African country of Ghana is currently experiencing a boom in trade and activity that is bringing with it a steady increase in footfall—and of course, more people means more vehicles. Ghana’s automotive industry therefore looks set to be a key beneficiary from this period of growth and change.
Founded in 1996, Silver Star Auto Limited is a general distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Ghana, dealing with the sale and service of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, as well as the sale of spare parts. The company started life in the premises of Japan Motors on Graphic Road in Accra with only six technicians, until 1997 when it moved to the premises of Modern Automobile Services (MAS) in another area of the city. Thanks to its consistent professionalism and the quality delivery of its services, the company soon found it was beginning to struggle for adequate space to hold all its cars, so it became necessary to move the workshop to an ultra-modern service centre at Tema in October 2003. The showroom was also subsequently moved to the ground floor of Silver Star Tower, Airport City, in January 2008.
Silver Star Auto is owned by the Japan Motors Company, which can trace its roots back to the beginning of the last century. In 1912, the late Salem Kalmoni and his brother Subhi arrived in the-then Gold Coast from their native Lebanon, establishing in 1965 the private company Japan Motors Trading Company Limited. This was an offshoot of the family motor vehicle spare parts and transport business, Kalmoni Sons, which had been started in 1920 by Salem and his brother. Japan Motors went on to become the first company to import Japanese vehicles into Ghana and West Africa.
Since then, Japan Motors’ growth has been impressive, and the company now has seven companies in its stable: Silver Star Auto Limited; Modern Automobile Services (MAS, formerly Enyidado Industries Limited); Oman Fofor Trading Company Limited; Advance Construction Development Limited; Lakeside Estate/Agri-Cattle Limited; Silver Star Tower Limited; and Star Property Management Limited. MAS deals in a wide range of vehicles from Korea and China; Oman Fofor Trading Company Ltd is the sole authorised distributor of Canon Products in Ghana; Advance Construction is a professional construction company; Lakeside Estate is a real estate company specialising in affordable housing; and Silver Star Tower and Star Property Management is a real estate developer and property management company seeking to promote trade and development in Ghana.
Silver Star Auto has five main departments and three sub-departments. The main departments are: Sales, Spare Parts, Workshop, Customer Care, and Human Resources/Administration. The sub-departments are: Workshop (Passenger Cars), Commercial Vehicles and Reception, all specially set up to provide comfort and convenience to the company’s customer base.
And business is clearly booming: Silver Star Auto has recently added two new products to its stable: Foton Heavy Duty Trucks and Parrot Bluetooth Products. Foton is the world’s second largest commercial vehicle manufacturer and the first in Asia. Meanwhile, Parrot is a global leader in wireless devices for mobile phones, priding itself on cutting-edge innovation. Parrot is responsible for developing the most extensive range of hands-free kits on the market for cars, including wireless multimedia products geared towards audio-visual applications.
Silver Star Auto’s mission is clear: to promote the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brand of vehicles by developing and implementing strategies that result in high sales and exceptional after-sales services to its customers in Ghana, leading to an optimum return on investment for its shareholders. It aims to achieve this by providing a supportive work environment that allows its employees to pursue professional excellence, while positively contributing to the communities in which it operates.
Meanwhile, the company’s vision is to be the premier automobile dealership in Ghana, providing exceptional value to its customers through services of the highest quality. The company is also committed to continuously increasing its market share in the automobile industry by making Mercedes–Benz the brand of choice in Ghana. Its motto is ‘Quality service, our passion’; its goal is customer satisfaction; and its wisdom is ‘Do it right the first time’. In everything it does, Silver Star Auto strives to value its employees and clients, promote growth, and demonstrate integrity and respect.
In its 16 years of operations, Silver Star Auto has successfully made Mercedes-Benz a sure brand choice in the market. The company has created and maintained a market share that puts it at a definite advantage over its competitors, and has come to be known as a destination for the optimal satisfaction of all automotive needs. The company has also received a number of awards, including the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana Motor Firm of the Year 2007.
But the company does not only strive to further its own success; it also positively seeks to contribute towards the wellbeing of others. Not simply content to be one of the nation’s leading service providers in the automobile industry, Silver Star Auto also takes it upon itself to give back to the community, and makes generous annual donations to the World Food Program’s fight for the eradication of hunger, the Nouguchi Memorial Institute, and the SOS Children’s Village. In addition, each year Silver Star accepts more than 20 attachment students coming from different universities, polytechnics, regions and fields of study. The company has also been sponsoring the Thom Kabalan Basketball tournament organised by the Greater Accra Basketball Association.
Furthermore, Silver Star opens its doors to a number of school/polytechnics (including the Multikids Inclusive School, Koforidua Polytechnic, the American International School, the Al-Rayan International School and the Ghana Society for Islamic Education and Information) for field trips, to allow students the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the new technologies being used in the automotive sector, encouraging them to study diligently in order to work with these technologies in their career.
On March 23 2010, two sets of Mercedes-Benz ML automatic transmission units, valued at GH¢30,000, were generously presented by Silver Star Auto to Koforidua Polytechnic to assist students in the automobile department with their studies.
Silver Star Auto has committed itself to developing the Mercedes-Benz brand of vehicles by developing and implementing strategies that result in high sales and exceptional after-sales services to customers in Ghana. It is a company that is well recognised in Ghana for valuing its employees and clients, and it demonstrates a commendable level of integrity and respect.
The company now plans to expand its express service network to Kumasi and then to Takoradi within the next three years. www.silverstar.com.gh
Written by Becky Done; research by Richard Turner