A recipe for winning the top award

When speaking to Danny Govender, the passion not only for what he does, but how he does it, is immediately evident.

Kia Umhlanga2

Danny is the Dealer Principal at Kia Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal, winner of the 2021 Kia Dealer of the Year Award with three Gold Awards for Parts, Fleet Sales and Sales.

This is certainly no easy achievement, especially in tough trading conditions and when considering the many other Kia dealers in the region who chased them hard for the top accolade from this Korean manufacturer.

Danny Govender, Dealer Principal at Kia Umhlanga.

“It was such an honour and an inspiration for our team, especially because we are still in a building phase and are trying to establish a fresh culture at the dealership. With these achievements, the team is motivated by the results of their efforts.

“I believe we have become more customer centric. You can only achieve excellence in customer service if your team, and that includes every single person working at the dealership, is uplifted, engaged, developed and given the right set of skills,” Danny tells Dealerfloor.

He says if the team is empowered, they share the vision to run the business successfully. He places customer service at the forefront of all their goals.

“I arrived at the dealership as the new DP during December last year after a long stint in various roles, including as DP at another brand since 1997. At that dealership, we were privileged to have won numerous top awards over the years and something I hope will continue at Kia,” Danny says.

The winning team at Kia Umhlanga with some of the leaders from Kia South Africa, who included Grant Cummings (Director: Kia SA), Riaan Janse van Rensburg (Regional Director: Kia Retail Operations), Sandile Sithole (Financial Executive: Kia Retail Operations) and Andrew Nkatu (Business Development Manager: Kia SA).

Danny has been in the motor trade for 34 years, starting as a Sales Executive for used vehicles, before moving up to Sales Manager and later Dealer Principal.

“I am still relatively new to the Kia brand, but the support from my superiors and the manufacturer is absolutely superb. Our aim is to establish a new culture and work ethic that the team is buying into that vision, with the eye on the prize – customer service excellence in all aspects of the business.”

Danny says there are many challenges and obstacles. One of the obstacles looming large is of course stock shortages that affect the entire industry. Here, Danny says they go more than just the extra mile to obtain the right stock and keep their customers happy.

“On the used side there are many challenges because of what is happening with new-car sales and stock supply. Our reputation is not negotiable when it comes to pre-owned vehicles. We aim for cars not older than five years with a maximum of around 120 000 kilometres on the clock,” he tells Dealerfloor.

“We make sure that what we buy are in excellent condition and of good quality and will also pass the benefit onto the customer trading in his or her vehicle on a new one. For even better customer service, we have appointed more sales staff at both the used and new side of the business.

On the show room floor at Kia in Umhlanga.

“The problems that flowed from the pandemic hit everyone. In our province, we had an additional hurdle with the recent unrest. Our dealership was fortunate to be spared any damage, but for two or three weeks trading conditions were very tough because of what had happened and the after-effects of the events.

“I am glad that our team at the dealership stood together as one and assisted fellow workers who had challenges owing to the unrest. We helped each other and did decent business during the rest of that month owing to the team’s commitment.

Danny says he is optimistic about the future and that circumstances will improve. “I believe in a plan that can be spelled out with four letters – SSSM. That is Staff, Skills, Stock and Marketing. Last, but not the least, I want to thank our Lord Jesus for his grace to achieve it all,” Danny concludes.

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