It all began in 1939 with Harold Algama, Stephen Peiris, P.D. Alexander and Cyril Algama coming to work one
morning to find that with the advent of World War II, their employer, a German named Mr.
F.K. Heller had been incarcerated and the business seized by the Government.
With little money and few prospects, the four unemployed youth decided
to start their own business.
This was the beginning of DIMO.
Starting out with a workshop and a few mechanics, the initial business was making gaskets and turning out parts thus catering to the high demand. As business expanded, DIMO began the sale of electrical parts, fittings and engine parts for motor vehicles, etc.
After the end of the war, Mr. Heller was subsequently released. He was given carte blanche on the marshall plan to build the prominence of the German industry in the Asian region. After establishing businesses in India and Pakistan, Mr. Heller returned to Sri Lanka to find his former employees have launched their own business. He proceeded to support them by arranging for DIMO to be granted the agencies of Bosch, Mercedes-Benz and Siemens.
As Sri Lanka regained its former stature before the devastating war, business gradually improved. DIMO played a central role in the post-war infrastructure development which included the supply of machinery and equipment for the cement plants in Jaffna and Puttlam as well as the power plants in Chunnakam. Siemens short-wave radio transmission devices were also supplied in large numbers. Mercedes-Benz was also ready to deliver their first post-war passenger vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz 170S.
Subsequently, DIMO´s main office was shifted to the very location that is still used today as its head office at 65, Jetawana Road. One of the first notable achievements for the burgeoning Company came in 1959, when over 200 Mercedes-Benz buses were supplied for the newly nationalized bus services in which the management of bus services was handed over to the Ceylon Transport Board (CTB).
TATA Motors, India ventured into the international market starting with Sri Lanka by partnering with DIMO in 1961. Demarked with the three-pointed star, the very first TATA vehicle exported out of India arrived on the shores of Sri Lanka. And thus began one of the most successful business relationships which paved the way for years of mutual trust and success.
From the early days of DIMO, the founder fathers advocated the provision of the best services possible to customers and with the growing number of TATA vehicles on the road, it became all the more relevant. With that in mind, in 1960, the Company extended its rear boundaries up to Bloemendhal Road to facilitate the expansion of its workshop. In 1964, a significant milestone was reached when DIMO was converted into a public Quoted Company by obtaining a listing at the Colombo Brokers´ Association, as it was then known.
Despite the business climate of a planned economy, DIMO endured due in large part to their focus on after-sales service and always putting the customer first. DIMO started producing radiators, brake linings, gaskets and kingpins which were very rare due to the imposed import restrictions.
There was a firm decision made by the founder fathers that although the company had successfully grown in the automotive industry, the company needed to explore new business steams to add to the company´s core competency. This resulted in the formation of DIMO (Pvt.) Ltd. Due to DIMO´s reputation of delighting customers over the years, Komatsu construction machinery, MTU high performance engines for the shipping and railway industry, KSB pumps for the industry and many other internationally recognized brands and products were added to DIMO´s growing portfolio.
Then in 1977, there was a huge political change with the country embracing free market policies. This meant a huge challenge for DIMO to dramatically change the culture of their staff to cater to a sellers market instead of a buyers market. The Company prevailed over these challenges which were evident with DIMO selling over a 1,000 TATA vehicles in a single month thereby dominating the Commercial vehicle industry which is sustained till date.
Thereafter, the war between the Sri Lankan Government against the terrorist group, the LTTE began. However, without succumbing to pressure from extremists groups, DIMO held fast to their ethics and proceeded with sound business principles during the political conflicts. Having been conceived in tough times, this period once again proved DIMO´s resilience which resulted in continuous growth.
The Company found that Sri Lankan society was experiencing a substantial "brain drain" and therefore a need to develop human resources arose. The dawn of the 90s witnessed the launch of the DIMO Automobile Training School (DATS) established in collaboration with Daimler AG, Germany to develop a course of international standards. The school became the first one of its kind in the private sector to offer an automotive technology education as a social service.
DIMO continued evolving despite the mounting turmoil of the war in the North. Several new businesses were launched such as DIMO Lighting Solutions with the introduction of OSRAM lamps & accessories, Michelin tyres and Bosch Power Tools. In 1991, DIMO was contracted to provide a one of a kind flood lighting system for the entire R. Premadasa Stadium thereby delivering a landmark solution with our Principals, Osram, Siteco and Siemens. It became one of the first stadiums in Asia to introduce a flood lighting system to promote day and night cricket matches.
In 1996, the founder father's drive of offering the best possible services reached its pinnacle with the Company relocating its after-sales and service workshops of commercial vehicles construction machinery and power systems to Siyambalape, Biyagama.
The new millennium witnessed DIMO reaching a pivotal milestone by meeting the demands of internationally approved norms and standards with ISO 9001:2000 for the Company´s operational practices and ISO 14001: 2004 for their environmental management practices certified by Det Norske Veritas Inc. (DNV).
In 2006, a new market segment was created with the introduction of the TATA Ace affectionately branded as the “DIMO Batta” in Sri Lanka. It revolutionized the way Sri Lankans viewed transportation in how a vehicle can so effectively be utilized for the enhancement of their livelihoods.
The same year saw the launch of the DIMO Retread factory where old tyres are made serviceable by removing worn out and damaged treads and replacing it with new treads. In an effort to centralize all its logistical operations, DIMO established the DIMO Logistics Complex in Weliweriya, Gampaha district in 2008.
With the end of the war and the resulting growth in the economy, DIMO had laid the foundation to achieve world-class status through their years of strategic business practices particularly with their focus on services. Hence, a new era of business diversification was set in motion.
DIMO launched a new branch with a state-of-the-art training school in war-torn Jaffna, just three months after the war ended. New areas of business such as Total Marine Solutions were introduced, the first Bosch Diesel Centre in Sri Lanka, the introduction of the all application problem solver, WD-40 and the expansion of branches and service centers across the island. The company increased profits tenfold in a single year.
In 2011, DIMO and TATA Motors celebrated an immensely successful partnership spanning 50 years. This was not merely the marking of the years passed. It was a celebration of the achievements and the continued strength of the respective organizations commitment in creating the highest standards of transportation excellence in Sri Lanka. It also marked the introduction of the TATA Nano to the Sri Lankan market.
One of DIMO's latest initiatives is the construction of a new state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Centre, which will be a reflection of DIMO's dedication to delivering outstanding service at every stage by providing modern services and better facilities to its valuable customers. DIMO continues to evolve to be in the best possible position to serve customers. With increasing sales, employees, product offerings, service centers and point of sales, the Company will always create new opportunities and significantly contribute to the Sri Lankan economy and its people.