Brimborg’s operations have changed dramatically since its foundation 47 years ago. The car repair shop, which was founded in 1964, became the foundation of Brimborg in 1977. Brimborg has become one of the biggest importers of vehicles in Iceland, whether for personal or commercial use. Brimborg’s rise has been fast, particularly in the past decade. Today, the company operates car agencies, car dealerships, car rentals and a quality full-scale maintenance and repair service for cars.
Although the measure of each company’s fortune is largely to be found in its organisation and management, its human resources are no less important. Brimborg has been very fortunate in that area, which is perhaps best manifested in the fact that many of the approximately 175 employees have been with the company for over twenty years. These are highly skilled employees who possess much experience and knowledge, and the loyalty of such employees for a company in a competitive market, is priceless.
The history of Brimborg is an eventful one and an adventurous one in some aspects. The company was founded in 1977 with the import of Daihatsu cars from Japan, but the story started quite a few years earlier.
The beginning can be traced back to the year 1964 when Ventill repair shop started at Köllunarklettsvegur in Reykjavík. The repair shop’s specialty was valve repair and soon it started servicing Toyota cars, and, as a result, a spare part service for Toyota cars was founded in 1969. The connection to Toyota was a multifaceted one, which also included the import of Toyota sewing machines in 1973. The sewing machines would certainly make an impact later.
Thereby, the first part of the history of Brimborg had begun. It lasted for ten years, during which the company‘s turnover steadily increased.
By the mid-eighties, it was clear that the Toyota dealership intended to take over all repair and spare part services for Toyota cars in Iceland, so the owners of Ventill and Toyota spare parts had to carve out new paths for their respective companies. The Toyota sewing machines thereby played a central role, because through their manufacturer, the founders of Brimborg were introduced to the Japanese car manufacturer Daihatsu. This turned out to be a fruitful step, as a contract for the import of Daihatsu cars to Iceland, and an exclusive dealership, was signed in 1976 and the next year, Brimborg was officially operating. The timing was excellent. Daihatsu had caught attention worldwide with the little energetic car with the porthole windows. Daihatsu cars were popular in Iceland during these years, especially around the mid-eighties.
Thereby, the second chapter of the history of Brimborg had begun.
On July 22nd 1988, there was a turning point in the history of Brimborg when the company bought the Volvo car dealership in Iceland, Veltir hf., and became an exclusive agent of Volvo cars in Iceland. Thereby, Brimborg‘s business expanded considerably, as the dealership included all Volvo products, personal and commercial vehicles, buses, Volvo Penta boat engines, Volvo Construction Equipment and hydraulic pumps, as well as all repair and maintenance service. Moreover, Brimborg started importing various other products, such as HIAB truck cranes, Focolift machines, Multilift hooklifts, Hultsteins cooling systems for trucks, Pirelli and Nokian tires and Zetterbergs truck platforms, to name a few.
Volvo cars had a strong following in Iceland, and they were often referred to as real-estate on wheels. Volvo cars were then, as they are now, very durable and dependable and it can be said that the addition of Volvo had a great impact on Brimborg‘s operations in the following years. The company continued to grow on a solid foundation, and the Volvo dealership was added at a convenient time when the popular Volvo 850 cars were just around the corner and many safety features from Volvo were introduced in the next few years.
Another turning point in Brimborg’s history occurred on January 31st 1995 when the company acquired the Ford and Citroën dealerships from Glóbus. The contracts on exclusive dealerships of Ford and Citroën were signed, and it was decided, with the consent of Citroën in France, to postpone the structuring and promotion of Citroën in Iceland for a while. The emphasis was put on promoting the Ford brand in Iceland. Included in the Ford dealership were all of Ford Motor Company’s products; cars, vans, jeeps, trucks and buses, as well as repair- and maintenance service.
The acquisition of Ford was an extremely important step. Ford is probably the most widely known car manufacturer and also one of the largest, and thereby Brimborg had acquired a leading car manufacturer to its name. Again, the timing was excellent because Ford had recently introduced the car which was meant to lead Ford‘s worldwide offensive, the very modern Ford Mondeo. Consequently, the foundation was strong on which to build. A few years later, the Ford Focus was introduced, further strengthening the Ford brand in Iceland.
On October 1st 1996, Brimborg cemented its position as a leading car dealership in Iceland, when it bought the Thórshamar dealership in Akureyri, in the north of Iceland. The name of the company was changed to Brimborg Akureyri. This was the first time that a car dealership in Reykjavík had opened a branch outside the city, fully owned by the parent company. More dealerships were to follow later in Brimborg‘s footsteps, but not until a few years later. Brimborg’s goal with the operation was to strengthen its position outside the Reykjavík area and to improve the servicing of the company’s many loyal customers in rural areas, as well as increase the sale of the company’s products outside Reykjavík.
Thereby, the third chapter of the history of Brimborg had begun.
The year 1999 was an important one for Brimborg, when the company moved into new premises. Thereby, Brimborg became the car dealership in Iceland which offered the highest quality of service. The housing at Bíldshöfði was specially designed to meet the needs of Brimborg’s operations. The building of Brimborg’s headquarters took a while, as the goal was to grow steadily, but take sensible steps while doing so.
On November 1st 2000, Brimborg opened Max1, a quick service workshop, at Bíldshöfði. In 2011, the Max1 branches are six, four in Reykjavík, one in Akureyri and one in Hafnarfjörður. The most recent Max1 station was opened in November 2009 in Hafnarfjörður.
Also in November of 2000, Brimborg started the restructuring and promotion of Citroën Iceland. At that time, Citroën had been unavailable in Iceland for 8 years. In a short while, the brand grew strong, sales increased, and Citroën is now the leading French car brand in Iceland. In that time, Citroën had just been through major restructuring, and new and exciting cars were introduced one after the other. Citroën Saxo, Berlingo, Xsara Picasso and Citroën C5 were all very popular in Europe and were built on well known design, traditional Citroën comfort and efficiency which were in high demand in Iceland.
Brimborg’s growth was very fast between 2001 and 2005. Under the slogan „A safe place to be“, the company tripled in size in only four years. Such fast growth is bound to include some growing pains, but the close-knit group of Brimborg employees managed, as they had done previously, to sensibly deal with the task at hand.
On October 1st 2005, Brimborg took over the Mazda dealership in Iceland. Mazda cars have loyal fans in Iceland, who recognize their quality, and they were top sellers in the years 1985-1987. Mazda6 and Mazda3 are most popular and they stand above the other Asian competitors by offering exceptional design mixed with Japanese quality and dependability.
Mazda’s headquarters are only a stone’s throw away from Brimborg’s headquarters, at Bíldshöfði 8. There, Brimborg provides full service for Mazda owners, according to Mazda’s quality standards.
Also in 2005, and at the same address, another giant step was made to further improve the services available to Citroën owners, when a new showroom and repair service, based on Citroën’s strict quality standards, was opened.
In 2007, Brimborg took over the operation of Vélaland at Vagnhöfði in Reykjavík. Now, in the year 2011, Vélaland operates in two locations, at Vagnhöfði in Reykjavík and at Dalshraun in Hafnarfjörður. Vélaland has a long history, dating back to 1949. The experienced employees of Vélaland tend to all traditional repair services as well as specialized repair services.
In February 2007, Brimborg’s quality control system received an ISO 9001 international certification for all its operations, the first of all car dealerships in Iceland.
In October 2007, Brimborg started the implementation of one of the most technically advanced dealer management systems (DMS) in the car industry, with great success. The implementation only took six months, or until the spring of 2008. The software is based on the standard Microsoft Dynamics AX business software, which Annata used, in cooperation with Brimborg and others, to develop a comprehensive dealer management system, the Annata IDMS. The software was based on standard solutions to ensure its reliability and flexibility, thereby enabling Brimborg to easily develop new service solutions for its customers, as well as lowering operating expenses. The results have far exceeded expectations which has led to the worldwide use of Annata IDMS in the car industry.
Brimborg enters the car rental business
According to Brimborg’s vision, Brimborg started the operation of car rentals for tourists in February 2009. Well known brands in the car rental business, Dollar Rent a Car and Thrifty Car Rental, were formally added to Brimborg’s operations. Brimborg also bought the Saga Car Rental. Dollar,Thrifty and Saga now operate in three locations; in Reykjavík at Bíldshöfði 8, in Keflavík at Blikavöllur 3 and in Akureyri at Tryggvabraut 5. The car rentals have been a great success and have further strengthened Brimborg’s foundations. In the summer of 2010, Brimborg’s car rentals had around six hundred cars in circulation.