INTERVIEW | Eric Leal: “Plug-in and hybrid cars will become the norm by 2030”

Eric Leal, CEO of the Leal Group, talks to Luxury Mauritius, through an assessment of the automobile market in Mauritius.

What is the situation concerning the automobile market in Mauritius?

The island’s vehicle fleet is an ageing one, with 30% of vehicles being older than 10 years. The renewal rate for this country that aspires to be the Singapore of the region is below average. Yet, the investment level of new vehicle importers is substantial, as they trust the potential of our economy.

Besides activities related to the automobile sector, Leal advocates the use of green energy in Mauritius via its subsidiary, Leal Enegy. Do you believe in a sustainable Mauritius?

Leal Energy has probably carried out the greatest number of installations in Mauritius, with more than 190 clients. Unfortunately, the balance between the profitability requirements of the CEB and the ‘clean energy’ duties of the country is yet to be achieved. The country lags behind in terms of solar sector, and integrators-installers are an endangered species. We’re awaiting reports from the Mauritius Renewal Energy Agency (MARENA) and the initial works of the Utility Regulatory Authority (URA) to restore our hope in the future of this sector.

The launching of the BMW i3 and i8 in Mauritius constitutes yet another pro-green energy initiative. How do you foresee the future of vehicles of this kind in Mauritius?

Plug-in and hybrid cars will become the norm by 2030. Thanks in particular to the 0% tax on electric vehicles in the last budget, we believe that plug-in cars will experience an exponential rise in 2017.

What are the ambitions of Leal for the years to come?

Leal has always strived to introduce in Mauritius the best of what technology has to offer, in line with developments in Europe. For instance, the new BMW models come to Mauritius and Reunion at the same time as in Europe. This year again we will sell more than 700 BMW in the region (outside Mauritius), i.e. more than in Mauritius alone. In parallel, we have a good regional experience as sole dealer, thanks to our partnership with major brands like BMW, Apple, or even Microsoft. And we will continue to export the group’s know-how!