Seeing the success of a recent business model tweak, used car dealership Jetcon Corporation is seeing “fair skies,” the latest company to telegraph optimism for business growth this year.
Its next frontier is the electric vehicle market, Chief Executive Andrew Jackson told the financial gleaner after the company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday.
The bright business outlook came earlier from Jetcon Chairman John Jackson, who told the meeting that 2021 revenue would likely have increased 39%, “ending at around $870 million,” and that the company is expected to end the year “with a small profit”. The company’s year-end results are still awaited.
Preliminary numbers still lag behind the company’s peak year, 2017, with revenue of $1.18 billion and net profit of nearly $154 million. Jetcon recorded a loss of $6.7 million at the end of 2020.
So far this year, January sales are up 40%, while February sales are up 12% so far, the president said.
Jetcon specializes in Mazda, Subaru, Toyota and Nissan motor vehicles. These are normally offered with the typical internal combustion engine, or ICE, but Jetcon is now expanding into electric vehicles – which is a nascent market in Jamaica, but is expected to grow to around 50,000, or around 12%, of automobiles on the road by 2030.
Andrew Jackson said his company aligns with the steady march towards electric vehicle adoption. Electric vehicles come in three main types: hybrid electric or HEV; plug-in hybrid, PHEV; and electric battery, BEV.
Inventor Karl Benz patented his Motorwagen in 1886 and since then motor vehicles, with very few exceptions, have relied on internal combustion engines. The open secret is that ICEs are notoriously inefficient, only converting around 35% of the available energy from a liter of fuel to power the wheels. Increasingly, Jackson says, Jamaicans seem to like HEVs because they offer the best compromise between using an ICE and delivering power immediately from an accompanying electric motor.
Over the past two years, car dealerships, including Jetcon, have actively pushed for a preferential duty regime for electric vehicles so that dealers can offer showroom prices that will attract car buyers.
There are indications that Technology Portfolio Minister Daryl Vaz is set to make an announcement on incentives as the government has pledged to facilitate the development of an electric vehicle market for Jamaica.
Jackson says he’s been asking for the duty-free treatment of electric vehicles initially for at least five years, and it looks like there will be concessions. Meanwhile, Jetcon has been adding more electric vehicles to its inventory as other companies invest in setting up BEV charging stations, including Jamaica Public Service Company.
“We are definitely going in that direction. It’s been a slow development, but with more infrastructure coming online and the prospect of policy changes, at Jetcon we see a serious business case,” Jackson said.
“We sell a lot of Aquas; Jamaican audiences seem to really like them. We also have the Honda Fit hybrid and the Nissan Leaf, which is a BEV,” Jackson added.
The Aqua gets “about 70 mpg,” compared to ICE vehicles that get 25 to 35 mpg, he said.