The Colmobil Group remains devoted and committed to its customers, past, present and future. We will continue to work towards developing advanced solutions in line with international standards, while continuing to bring our innovative, market-leading approach to Israel’s auto industry. We are proud to have set such high standards as the benchmark for the transportation industry, and will vigorously strive for continuing excellence for the benefit of our customers.The bla bla bla
Colmobil signs an import and distribution agreement for comfortable, high-quality buses and minibuses, manufactured by the Chinese “King Long” company. King Long is one of the two largest bus manufacturers in China, and one of the largest in the world. colmobil bla bla
Since 1988, Mitsubishi has steadily built a solid base in Israel, becoming adored and extremely popular thanks to the advanced technology, accessories, and impeccable service and reliability of its models. Mitsubishi celebrates its 25-year anniversary by launching the Mitsubishi Space Star in Israel – an urban, fuel efficient and light super-mini.
Mercedes Israel celebrates 50 years of Israeli presence, starting from the signing of the first franchise agreement with Colmobil until the present day. Over those years, Mercedes Israel watched the country go through years of recession, wars and combat operations, tempered with incredible achievements and spectacular successes. To mark the 50 year anniversary, Mercedes launches the new S Class in Israel – considered to be the best luxury car in the world.
Colmobil assumes full ownership of "Debis" after acquiring the portion owned by Daimler Worldwide, and changes the company name to "Colmobil Finance Solutions". Colmobil Finance Solutions is the largest automotive finance solution company in Israel.
Colmobil proves that Hyundai’s tagline “The Quiet Success” has coverage – in a big way. Colmobil led Hyundai, the popular, reliable and fuel-efficient Korean car, to become the sales record holder in 2011. This marked the second time that a Colmobil brand found itself at the top of the vehicle sales charts, following in the successful footsteps of Mitsubishi, which enjoyed a revolutionary introduction in the ‘90s.
Colmobil established “Colmobil Trade-In” for its customers, since according to its approach, it’s worthwhile and recommended to purchase a pre-owned- vehicle from the importer, thus enjoying excellent terms, full transparency and guarantees.
In a massive technological changeover, and one that would improve service, communication and efficiency in total operations, Colmobil converted all the groups’ computer servers and consoles around one ERP system, and thereby consolidated the sales, server, supply and finance processes for all brands and units.
Colmobil received the rights to import "Fuso" light trucks from Daimler (this brand was owned in the past by Mitsubishi and still carries the company’s badge to this day). The first model that Colmobil marketed was the “Fuso Canter”, a light truck built to transport light cargo, and which even today is considered one of the best and most popular work vehicles.
Colmobil launched an innovative concept vehicle by Daimler into Israel under the name “Smart”. Colmobil was the first importer to identify the unique need for a small and comfortable urban vehicle, perfectly embodied by the Smart. This efficient urban concept combined the comfort of a small vehicle with two normal sized seats with fuel efficiency, easy maneuverability in crowded city streets, parking anywhere, wrapped in a fashionable, contemporary shape.
Colmobil responded to a need it identified with customers, and offered one-stop financing solutions when purchasing a vehicle, and together with Daimler Worldwide, established “Daimler Finance Solutions”. The joint company started operating under the name ”Debis”. This became the first time a vehicle manufacturer collaborated with a local importer on the subject of finance.
Colmobil imported the Mitsubishi Pajero, the first comfortable family sport utility vehicle, which changed the Israeli consumer’s perception of all-terrain vehicles forever. The Pajero became a hot seller, and since then, it has become common to consider a 4X4 utility vehicle to be appropriate for families as well as rugged enough for rougher uses.
At the beginning of the ‘90s, there was fierce competition among vehicle importers to acquire the rights to import vehicles from Korea. Dr. Shmuel Harlap managed to subdue all competitors, and obtained the rights to import the highly desired Hyundai brand into Israel.
Four years after its launch in Israel, Mitsubishi succeeded in undermining Subaru’s status as the most popular vehicle in Israel when annual sales surpassed Subaru. The ascent was complete: the Mitsubishi brand was crowned the sales record holder for 1992.
Branching out into other necessary services related to transportation, Colmobil established “Colmobil Insurance”, an auto insurance agency that provides a variety of insurance services and solutions for customers who purchased vehicles imported by the company.
In the early ‘80s, Subaru cars became popular in Israel for providing basic transportation, ultimately taking over 40% of the private vehicle market. Dr. Shmuel Harlap, Amichai Harlap’s son, realized that there was a need for a better quality car, and despite the many obstacles and objections to importing another new brand to Israel, in 1988 Colmobil introduced the Japanese Mitsubishi brand. Mitsubishi was a huge success, as the Israeli consumer benefited from the competition, and purchased these vehicles in the thousands, enjoying impressive accessories and innovations that until then had yet to be seen in Israel.
When the Yom Kipper war broke out, there was an immediate shortage of trucks and transport vehicles to support the war effort. Amichai Harlap learned of this shortage and immediately looked to his contacts and suppliers to help solve the pressing issue. He made an emergency flight to Germany to meet with the Board of Directors of Mercedes Benz and requested an urgent and unprecedented appeal – to send Israel as many trucks as possible. They agreed, and began shipping their entire stock of trucks from warehouses all across Europe. 1,625 trucks reach Israel and are quickly put into service to move ammunition, supplies and equipment to soldiers in combat.
From the mid ‘60s, Colmobil began importing Mercedes Benz buses for the regional councils. As the business evolved, Colmobil expanded the market to include public transportation and luxury tourist buses.
In 1980, Colmobil supplied the “Egged” bus company with 1,165 buses for 3.5 million Israeli liras, along with a manufacturer’s warranty for either 24 months or 200,000 kilometers – an unprecedented warranty at that time. 100 buses of the fleet were luxury buses designated for tourism. Following this acquisition, many other tourism companies and regional councils upgraded their bus fleets to include well fitted and more powerful buses, and the level of comfort in Israel’s public transportation took a large step forward.
As the country continued to grow, many families and groups were interested in traveling out of town together. Amichai Harlap, having already imported taxis and buses from Mercedes, initiated building a stretch Mercedes taxi that would carry 7 passengers (aside from the driver), 3 more than the maximum capacity of taxis and private vehicles. Amichai wrote the specifications for a prototype Mercedes sedan, which basically was cut in half to accommodate another row of seating. The stretch Mercedes taxi became a success, and 2,000 taxis hit the road in a short period of time. Mercedes engineers were so impressed that they adopted the invention into their own line and began marketing the stretched 200 model worldwide. As the car was improved, Mercedes introduced the feature into its 220, 240 and 300 models.
In the rapidly developing State of Israel, a new need grew amongst farmers, contractors and field personnel for a rugged and reliable all-terrain vehicle for extreme roads, field work and utility use. The Mercedes Unimog, a 4X4 multi-purpose vehicle was the obvious solution in the field and on the road – a vehicle with the capability to operate different tools, and one which can handle any type of terrain. Depending on configuration, the Unimog can be utilized for agriculture, construction, and mining.
Amichai Harlap imported the first Unimog in 1965 for the copper mines in Timna, and later the Unimog became all the rage in the Kibbutzim (agricultural collectives) and the Moshavim communes, as well as construction sites across Israel. The Unimogs disperse salt and remove snow, and later, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL JNF) bought and outfitted them for firefighting in remote areas.
In the early ‘60s, Amichai Harlap and the Mercedes Benz Company built a successful relationship around importing Mercedes vehicles to Israel. The “Colmobil” name, coined in 1963, was born from a request by Mercedes-Benz to initiate a separate company specifically for bringing Mercedes to Israel. The name “Colmobil” was selected, taken from a small pickup truck that was developed in the ‘50s. Later on, the company added imports of the Mitsubishi and Hyundai brands.
At first, Colmobil only imported Mercedes Benz’s heavy trucks to Israel, for specific clients like "Solel Boneh" and other distribution companies. Later on, Amichai Harlap identified the growing needby bakeries and bread companies for a closed van with greater load space than the Gogomobil. His imported “Colmobil” pickup truck was an open configuration, and the bakeries wanted a closed commercial van for distribution purposes. During that time, private Mercedes Benz automobiles were being imported in small quantities for the elite and wealthy in Israel, yet by the mid ‘60s Colmobil expanded their lines to include the closed vans and private cars. After the 6 Day War, the demand for Mercedes Benz private automobiles and taxis grew, and Colmobil helped their sales rocket.
With big trucks selling well, “Y. Miller Engineers” felt that small, inexpensive and efficient delivery trucks were needed, so they began assembling the “Gogomobil”, a tiny pickup truck that was perfect for distributing oil and other goods. “Y. Miller Engineers” contracted the Israeli “Ha’argaz” company to assemble the driver’s compartment, and imported other components, like the engine, steering and braking systems from abroad. The small truck became extremely popular, eventually exported to Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Africa and the Far East.
In 1952, Amichai Harlap acquired the rights for Colmobil to import “Scania” vehicles from Sweden to Israel. Scania trucks became a huge success, ultimately leading the truck marketplace in Israel.
The little workshop grew into a modest factory, and then evolved into a business consortium with interests in many industrial fields, including importing a variety of products from Europe. “Y. Miller Engineers” imported engines, machinery, SKF bearings and even Swedish wooden houses, and owned oxygen factories and an ice manufacturing plant.
“Miller & Co. Engineering Company Ltd.” was established in 1906 by Nachum Miller, who arrived in Israel and founded an agricultural machinery company to support his family. His son, Yosef Miller added import and repair of a variety of machinery, growing the company and changing its name to “Y. Miller Engineers”. Eventually, Amichai Harlap, Yosef’s father in law, would buy Yosef’s share in “Y. Miller Engineers” to found the Colmobil Company.
In the picture: Yosef Miller (on the right) in Nachum Miller and Sons’ first workshop, Haifa, 1920s. 5