When it comes to opening up a new dealership, Friday the 13th held no superstitious value for Mohamed Akoob as the doors of Kia Springfield was opened for business on this day last month.
The brand-new Kia Dealership, the first in the country to boast the Korean manufacturer’s new corporate identity, look and logo, is an example of what a new and modern dealership should look like.
With the well-documented problems the motor retail industry faces on a daily basis with stock shortages on the new and used side as well as the excessive prices of used cars, Mohamed is optimistic about what the future holds.
“I do believe the stock problems will end sooner rather than later, and we will see a correction in the market. Although we have huge back orders, the customers are there, and the Kia offering keeps the excitement going,” he tells Dealerfloor.
But for this businessperson, who is a director of three Kia dealerships and functions as Dealer Principal, it was a bittersweet moment. During the unrest and riots two months ago, their Kia dealership in Umlazi was burnt down. The family’s Kia dealership in Durban South incurred losses with some of their vehicles at a panel beater that was lost when the riots took place.
The new Kia Springfield dealership did not escape the chaos with equipment stolen that led to the postponement of the opening of the facility.
“It was a difficult time, and we could only save a few vehicles in Umlazi. The damage was severe with a burnt down dealership and lots of damaged vehicles. We have not come to a decision about rebuilding and reopening the Umlazi dealership. Time will tell what will happen,” Mohamed says.
“But South Africans have a short memory, and business is returning to normal, which we are thankful for. I firmly believe our new dealership can be on par with our Durban South dealership within six months.
“We are saddened by what happened, especially seeing that the Umlazi dealership just won the first place in Category C for the Kia Sales Dealer of the Year and a third place in the same category for Best Sales Manager.
“Our Durban South dealership won first place for the Kia Service Operations (Category A); a 3rd place in the Kia Sales Dealer of the Year and a 1st place for the Kia Training Compliance and Completion Dealer of the Year.
“We look ahead and look forward to the new Kia Sorento before year-end and the arrival next year of the extremely popular new Sportage. Our new, small SUV/Crossover, the Sonet, is hugely popular as is the new small Pegas sedan. With the high prices and stock shortages of traditional favourites in the bakkie market, our K2700 is getting a lot of attention, and we have stock available,” Mohamed tells Dealerfloor.
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