There are two ways a company can stand out: by exhibiting intelligence quantified by facts or by demonstrating its heart and spirit.The stories behind Colmobil reveal the human spirt which inspires the values and commitment of our people and organization.We want to share a story – one of many that the people of Colmobil have to share – that demonstrates the spirit of our organization. If you still require some facts after this story, read on.
It’s 1973 and the Yom Kippur War breaks out suddenly and unexpectedly. The IDF is unprepared, both along the fortified positions on the front lines and in the emergency warehouses in the rear. One of the most critical shortages is that of trucks and distribution vehicles, which makes it difficult if not impossible to move reinforcements and supplies to those in combat who so desperately need them. Amichai Harlap, then the leader of the Colmobil Group, hears of the threat and immediately comes up with a plan. He takes an urgent flight to Germany and requests an audience with the Mercedes-Benz board of directors. His request is highly unusual and brazen. He wants Mercedes-Benz to send their entire stock of trucks to Israel – immediately. The request stuns the Mercedes-Benz board – the small Israeli franchisee is requesting that the Company postpone deliveries to many huge, long-time customers all over Europe and instead ship every single truck at top speed across the Mediterranean to Israel. Unheard of! But Amichai Harlap is not an ordinary customer, and Colmobil is not a common franchisee. In the 10 years since Mercedes-Benz began shipping vehicles to Colmobil, the manufacturer also uniquely benefited from Amichai and his ideas. They shared success in his efforts building a leading, visionary franchisee; they enjoyed the success in his inventions and fabrications of innovative products like the 7 passenger stretch Mercedes Taxi, which sold in the thousands worldwide after enjoying much success in Israel. And they knew that his word was golden. They also considered that – unless he had a dire need – he would not be there. This was serious, and the future of an entire nation was at stake. In an endorsement of the trust, appreciation and faith in both Colmobil and Amichai Harlap, the Mercedes-Benz company, in an exceptional move, collected their entire inventory of trucks from warehouses all across Europe and rapidly loaded them on ships, Days later, 1,625 light to heavy trucks went to work moving the materials, ammunition, supplies and personnel for the war effort. We’ve shown you our heart, now the bare facts: The Colmobil Group was founded in 1906, and is privately owned by the Harlap family. Dr. Shmuel Harlap acts as the Group’s CEO and Yoav Harlap acts as the Vice CEO.