EuroSports’ Melvin Goh on His Ambition to Create History With His Brand, Scorpio Electric
Melvin Goh is the nicest used car salesman (albeit former) that I have ever met. I’ve known a few, and they weren’t always good people; often smooth-talking and smarmy, and as economical with the truth as many of their cars weren’t with petrol.
I remember being sold a vehicle that must have been made in the late hours of a Friday afternoon when the production workers assembling the pile of junk had their minds on other things. The car was a nightmare on wheels, spending more time in the workshop than it did on the road. I’ve been suspicious of used car dealers ever since. Until now.
Goh meets me in the conference room at EuroSports Global’s HQ. He’s not dressed to impress. A Lamborghini logo-emblazoned polo shirt is about as far as he is prepared to go. He’s slight and trim and exudes warmth, while his bearing has the hallmarks of a man who’s comfortable with himself and knows who he is.
Lamborghini is one of the brands EuroSports currently represents, along with Alfa Romeo and Touring Superleggera. A more pukka collection of brands in the automotive industry would be hard to imagine and couldn’t have been easy to assemble.
Starting out with Lotus under EuroSports Auto, which was birthed in 1998, Goh acquired the Lamborghini dealership three years later—a feather in his cap. Lamborghini doesn’t just associate with anyone, but must have recognised Goh’s enthusiasm and expertise.
He started his love affair with automobiles by using a screwdriver to scratch the cars in his father’s workshop. Not an auspicious beginning, perhaps, but it didn’t take him long to realise that he had a passion for cars—everything about them, from their inner workings to their overall aesthetics. He was hooked from an early age, and four-wheeled modes of transport became part of his destiny.
Delving into the world of used car dealerships was a laboratory for Goh, and a seminal moment occurred in his young life when he couldn’t even persuade a potential buyer to part with $100 for—ironically—a Nissan 100A.
“I said to myself, this guy wouldn’t even trust me with $100 of his money for a car he wasn’t sure about,” Goh confesses. “And I thought that was kind of screwed.” It made him want to move on to the premium car market, in which people knew what they wanted and how much they would have to pay.
Goh’s used car days were not wasted. They enabled the now 65-year-old to immerse himself in an increasingly familiar world in which he was surrounded by the objects that he loved. It also gave him the opportunity to meet people, understand human nature, and make friends.
Goh is easy-going and gregarious, and forging relationships is part of his metier. This has characterised and infused his business practices since the day he sold his first jalopy. He knows who’ll be there for him when required. This is not to imply that Goh set about cultivating relationships for personal gain. He trusted his judgment of character, and has always been able to identify the individuals who could and would aid and abet when the need arose.
His used car dealerships were successful, and yet he was unsatisfied. He enjoyed what he was doing, but he needed more; craved greater autonomy, and wanted to do something new. This was when he decided to take up distributorship, and he aimed high, putting together the dealership that, in time, represented some of the world’s most desirable brands.
With Lamborghini under the EuroSports hood, Goh established himself, while never losing sight of his roots. Relationships remained important. “Our motto,” says Goh, “is, ‘Walk in as a customer; walk out as a friend.’” Even if they don’t buy, remains the unspoken caveat.
He’s good at selling cars, and EuroSports Global has become a force to be reckoned with in the local supercar market. He’s keen to point out to his sales team that they shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Just because someone walks into the showroom in shorts and flip-flops, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not going to spend $1 million on a car.
But after more than two decades putting other brands’ best wheels forward, Goh has other fish to fry. He still relishes people’s reactions when they climb inside a Lambo, but he wants something else and he’s in a position to make his personal dreams come true by creating a brand of his own that he feels is going to be part of Singapore’s history.
Grandiose? Perhaps. But in Goh’s formation of Scorpio Electric, the company that’s about to produce high-end electric motorcycles, he’s not only tapping into the zeitgeist, but proving that moral imperatives can also create excellent business opportunities.
This is the way in which Melvin Goh is pivoting in the market—the transition, if you like, from fuel‑guzzling, head-turning supercars to electric scooters. Typical of the man, it doesn’t have to be the kind of brand that only HNWIs can afford, but it has to have his personality stamp. By creating a product that is going to sell for around 3 per cent of the price tags on most of the automobiles currently resident in his Lambo HQ, he’s making a statement that this is about him and his dream, and not about others’ expectations.
Is it bold? Yes. “I’m very confident because things are falling into place,” says Goh. “And we have partnerships ready to support us. We’re confident we’re going to make it. How successful we will be, I don’t know, but the bikes will be on the road.”
The factory is in place, the designs have been finalised (almost) and the Scorpio Electric motorbike is a sight to behold. It looks stylishly efficient with not too many frills, but the lines are clean. It’s sleek, will turn heads, and the specs are exceptional.
“To my investors,” says Goh, “I say: ‘Listen, I can’t promise you that this will be 100 per cent successful, but I promise you that I will put 100 per cent effort into making this work.”
This is the mark of the man, only making the kind of promises he knows he can keep—a rare trait in today’s business world. Goh’s reputation may well be on the line here, but it doesn’t faze him at all. He knows who his friends are, and he knows the people who believe in him and who are prepared to put their money where his mouth is. Business relationships for Goh are never purely functional. They are personal, and his assessment of a person’s character is intriguing.
“At night before you sleep, raise your pillow, sit up, and scroll through the address book on your phone. Ask yourself and be honest,” says Goh, “if you had a problem, would you call these people? Would he lift a finger to help you? And if he is unable to, would he know someone who could?”
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This sums him up, as well as his business and personal relationships. He forges them in steel (or lightweight aluminium) by recognising the kind of people with whom he would like to spend time, but never dismissing those with whom “chemistry” is lacking. I ask him if he is a good judge of character, and he seems slightly embarrassed to answer, “I must have been reasonably good. I do have a lot of friends. Some are close, some are not so close, but we all respect each other … I believe in being reasonable.
“If I’m sitting across the room from someone,” he continues, “and about to talk to them, I run through my mind what I am about to say. If it sounds reasonable to me and I can accept it, I think it’s going to sound reasonable to the other person.”
It sounds simple, but there’s a life lesson here. It’s simply good sense, and only some of it has been taught. While admitting to a short temper on occasions, there’s a humility to the man that makes him very engaging as an individual and, I would imagine, a good person with whom to do business.
But isn’t he merely clambering onto a bandwagon as far as clean energy and sustainability are concerned? I ask the question and expect a reaction.“Yes, you could say that,” he admits freely. “But the other way to put it is that I saw an opportunity. Fossil fuels are coming to an end, and with them the internal combustion engine.”
So why not electric cars? “It would be a dream come true to make an electric car,” he says. “But that would be a really expensive dream to realise. Billions of dollars in my estimation. But an electric motorcycle? I can do that, and what particularly excites me is the opportunity to build a brand I can truly call my own.”
And this is exactly what Goh is doing with Scorpio Electric. His own brand. Fired by his own imagination and fuelled by his desire to make his mark and put Singapore on the automotive map.
The idea started five years ago, and the company was formed 18 months later. While the pandemic hasn’t done Goh and Scorpio Electric any favours, it has enabled a consolidation of thought and purpose, and the luxury of time to source suppliers, test scrupulously, and ensure that the operation is fully geared up for entry into a heretofore uncharted market. The bikes will be expensive for the market segment (somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000) but their range—200 km, and top speed of 105 km/h—are well above industry norms, pointing to the fact that the engineers have done their jobs in creating a practical and desirable product.
Goh insists that there will be appeal, and that creating a little piece of history for Singapore will be part of a USP that is hard to ignore. He could have gone “mass market”, but in light of the marques he has been promoting for the last 23 years, somehow that wouldn’t have been appropriate. Goh’s electric motorcycles are going to be special.
Goh is supportive of the Singapore government’s initiative to have nothing but electric vehicles on the roads in the next 20 years, and why wouldn’t he be? The Scorpio Electric motorbike is set to be a trailblazer that will put Southeast Asia in the spotlight as far as the industry is concerned—every part of it will be sourced from the region, and it will be assembled right here, for now. The potential is great, and expansion into Europe and beyond is on the cards.
Most importantly, perhaps, it will be his brand, and his legacy.
When all is said and done, there is nothing particularly grandiose about Melvin Goh’s ambitions to create history. Scorpio Electric is a brand of his own—he named it after his star sign—that has sustainability and environmental awareness at the core of its being. It also has the attendant business potential that characterises a man who used to be a racer and now recognises the downshifts required on corners that need extra attention, and is also capable of going full throttle on the straights. He is not risk averse, obviously, but he’s certainly risk savvy. That’s not bad for a former used car salesman who knows who his friends are and relishes the important relationships in his life.
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