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Jamaica Exports Locally Manufactured Car

August 30, 2003

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ Jamaica has added another export item besides sugar, rum and reggae: automobiles.

Excel Motors, a fledgling Jamaican automaker, exported the Caribbean island’s first locally manufactured car to the Bahamas on Friday.

The two-door Island Cruiser, one of 22 built this year at the company’s plant in western Jamaica, sells for $11,500.

The first order was placed by a Bahamian citizen who ``fell in love″ with the car, said company director Patrick Marzouca, who called the sale ``a proud milestone in the history of Jamaica.″ Other orders are pending from the Bahamas and Barbados.

``Many were of the view that a vehicle could never be manufactured locally, let alone exported,″ he said.

The car’s box-like, fiberglass chassis is made with local materials, while the 1.5-liter engine is imported from Japan.

Sugar is Jamaica’s third largest source of foreign income after tourism and mining, and is the country’s largest employer with more than 50,000 direct jobs.

The island is also one of the Caribbean’s leading exporters of rum and is known for its reggae music, which gained worldwide recognition with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

Jamaicans hope the Island Cruiser will help an economy weakened by tourism losses and lack of investment.

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