- Published: Friday, 04 August 2017 20:13
The financing company opened a new used car retail centre today, and is putting a digital twist on the business
SINGAPORE — There is a new place in town to buy second-hand cars. Orchard Credit, best known here for its car financing business, has a new showroom for its used car division in OC Building at 1, Chang Charn Road.
The ground floor unit at houses the company’s second-hand car retails operations, and occupies the showroom formerly used by Volkswagen for its Das Welt Auto approved used car business. Volkswagens will now market its used cars at its MacPherson showroom at 1, Kampong Ampat.
The opening of the Orchard Credit Pre-Owned Cars retail centre today is part of a broader restructuring of the company. It is moving its corporate headquarters to OC Building.
Under new chief operating officer William Choo (above) the company is streamlining its operations into six distinct units.
Apart from car financing and leasing, and second-hand car retails, the company is also active in wine retail and storage, and it operates a number of restaurants.
Mr Choo was the commercial director for Lexus at Borneo Motors before retiring. He was lured back into the car trade by Robert Heng, the chairman of Orchard Credit and a founder of the business together with his wife, Ruby.
Mr Heng launched the business after, as a Fiat salesman in the in 1970s, he noticed that would-be customers sometimes struggled to obtain financing to buy cars.
His son, Renny, is credited with expanding the business beyond its original auto financing operations, and embracing digital technology.
The used-car business will allow customers to place a deposit for a car they want online, for example. This will prevent it from being sold under their noses while they mull over their buying decision.
The younger Mr Heng calls the online deposit feature an “effortless, worry-free and unobtrusive” service.
The Heng family (pictured) is also on the look-out for start-up companies to foster.
Orchard Credit announced today that it will be setting aside space in one of its properties for new tech ventures; the premises will be provided free of charge to allow entrepreneurs to focus on developing their products without worrying about the rent, and has pledged to lend its “full support” to any business ventures that grow from this initiative.
Mr Choo says Orchard Credit is still finalising its selection criteria for the scheme. “Not everyone will get in, of course. It has to be something innovative, in line with the digital economy,” he said.
The company will begin to accept submissions through its website about a month from now, he added.
Having spent the last 40 years building the “credit” part of its business, the company’s aim to nurture budding entrepreneurs is more a reflection of the “orchard” part.