North Cyprus has existed for over 40 years. New Cyprus Magazine has met with a company who has been here since the start.
Coffee and Annas ginger bread cookies await us as we enter the meeting room at Sun Group’s headquarters in Nicosia. PR manager Nuran Öze greets us with a warm welcome. She is in the middle of planning for the company’s great anniversary celebration. This year, it is 40 years since the start of Sun Group, and it will be noted in several ways in the coming months. But today her task is to show us around the large office building that has been a central venue for Sun Group since the company was established in the late 1970s.
Everything started with a petrol station. In the area close the Turkish embassy in central Nicosia, two brothers opened a petrol station which eventually became North Cyprus’s first car rental company. Sun Rent A Car was established in 1978, then as a complementary operation to the petrol station, with seven cars in its garage. Over the years, it grew quickly.
Today, Sun Rent A Car is the largest car rental company on this part of the island, with almost 400 cars in its garage, being top five largest car rental company on the whole island. But then it also compares with international companies that have established themselves in South Cyprus over the years. Sun Rent a Car has rental offices in Nicosia, Kyrenia and at Ercan Airport. A large customer group is European tourists to whom Sun Rent a Car have built up a good relationship over the years. They feel strong confidence in the company and appreciate their fast and personal service, as well as the wide range of cars of different types and price ranges, always serviced and ready for Cyprus’s roads. Nuran informs us that they always go the extra mile for their customers, whether it comes to quickly arranging more cars during high season or arranging transfer to any of the airports.
During our 40 years in the industry, we have grown in line with demand from our customers,” explains Nuran. Today Sun Group consists of five companies; Sun Rent A Car, Sun Exchange, Sun Repair, Sun Insurance and Sunpex Trading. All companies are an important part of the organisation, and all were born from the will to offer a safe and reliable service to residents and tourists on the island.
Later on she explains that the name “Sun” has a bilingual meaning. In Turkish it has a more symbolic definition that can be interpreted as showing someone appreciation, and always providing the customer with the very best. Precisely what Sun Group does.
We look through a window from the second floor of the building. There is full activity on the yard below. Cars are being repaired, polished and rinsed clean with high pressure washing. She tells us that this is Sun Repair, where rental cars come for service and repair. She walks us down the stairs and into the garage where Emiray Ateşönmez has his office. Emiray is the head of the mechanical department and is one of the company’s most senior employees. He tells us:
I started working for Sun Rent A Car in July 1980, I was 20 years old and it was my first job. Here at Sun Group we are like one big family,” he says and smiles while leaning back in his office chair.
Emiray is a problem solver, responsible for everything to do with the rental cars. He explains that competition among rental companies in Cyprus has increased in recent years, but that Sun Rent A Car has the largest fleet of cars and thus stands well against its competitors. He points out that quality and sustainability are the keywords of the company that grows bigger for each year.
Over the years she has worked closely with several Scandinavian travel agencies and rented cars to especially Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish tourists. Sun Rent A Car also offers long term rentals and is a partner of transportation for more than 130 companies on the island.
Much has happened over the years he has worked for the company. He recalls with amusement how he as a young man used to run around and play with his managers’ sons, who were then only a few years old. Today, the sons are his bosses.
“Then you know that you have been around for a long time,” he laughs and adds with a twinkle in his eye that he feels the same love for the company and for his wife. Which might not be too far-fetched, as his wife Emine has been employed at Sun Group for almost as long as himself.
It is precisely Emine that greets us as we head on to the building where Sun Exchange is located. It is a big facility with high ceilings. The entrance door opens and closes almost uninterruptedly as people come and go. Nevertheless, we are told that it is a relatively quiet morning, there are usually even more customers around this time of the day.
“Sun Exchange is North Cyprus’s leading exchange office,” Emine explains. We were the first exchange office to be established in the country and we have many faithful customers who feel great confidence in us. It is most common to exchange to Turkish lira or British pounds, but we can offer most currencies, including Euros, US and Australian dollars or even Swedish kronor. We have an office in Nicosia and one in Kyrenia harbour.
Emine loves her job at Sun Group and thinks it’s fun to have so many co-workers. There are about 120 employees within the group Nuran tells us.
“We strive to create a harmonious corporate culture with a staff that thrives,” she says as we head towards the next building. ”Among other things, we notice that we have many faithful employees who have been with us for a long time.”
One of these employees is Soyal, who has worked for Sun Group since 1984. He is Quality Control Manager for Sun Repair, the garage that takes care of rental cars in need of service before they can hit the roads again. Most car rental companies send out their cars when they need repair, but Sun Rent A Car’s vehicles get all the service and repair they need on site. There are about 20 people working on the rental cars, and once they are repaired, Soyal does a final approval before they can roll out.
“Sun Rent A Car has plenty of cars and they have to be serviced regularly. It is our job to make sure that the customer gets a perfectly functioning car,” explains Soyal. ”All cars we receive undergo thorough cleaning inside and outside. Then we check if something is in need of repair. This can include everything from sewing a small hole in the car’s interior textiles with needle and thread, to fix a broken window button or replace major parts.”
Soyal is proud to be a part of Sun Group. He says it’s a company where you love and respect each other and where you are close friends with your superiors.”I am very pleased to work here, that’s why I’ve stayed here for so long. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work under the same roof throughout my working life,” he says smilingly.
Sun Group has two more companies within the organisation. One is an insurance company, Sun Insurance, which started in 2015. This includes commercial and personal injury insurance, accident insurance and supplementary health insurance, as well as life insurance.
The second one is Sunpex Trading, an import company that collaborates with over twenty international brands and imports around a thousand different products to North Cyprus. Sunpex has about thirty delivery vehicles that ship goods daily from the 2000 sqm warehouse outside Nicosia to supermarkets around the country. Amongst the product brands are Lindt Chocolate, Highland Spring, Swedish Match and Annas ginger bread cookies. Thereof the nice welcome we were offered upon arrival!
As we say goodbye we wish Sun Group a happy 40 year anniversary and we wish them a continues 40 prosperous years to come.
Visit Sun Group for your future rental car and exchange services by visiting their branches shown on maps below or by calling +90 392 227 23 03 or visiting their website. Opening hours are from 7 am until 6 pm every week day and open until 3 on Saturdays. Sun does also have a 24/7 customer support number +392 228 83 81. Welcome!
Map for Sun Group in Kyrenia:
Map for Sun Group in Nicosia: