South Africa’s new vehicle market made a strong rebound in 2021 from the massive 29.2% COVID-19 pandemic-related decline in 2020, and naamsa expects the industry to continue with its gradual recovery in 2022.
- Industry News
- 11 January 2022
Lydenburg Toyota has a rich history of how it developed from a small operation several decades ago to the modern, high-tech facility that it is today.
Today the dealership is a well-known beacon in the region, not only in the town of Lydenburg but also in the wider Mpumalanga region. Its sales area, which also includes Dullstroom, Ohrigstad and up to the border with Limpopo province.
Lydenburg Toyota is no stranger to winning. It has several prestigious Toyota Dealer of The Year Awards under its belt, especially since the Erasmus family took over the reins.
The dealership developed over decades on a premises that included several other businesses and even a church, before moving to a different part of town decades later. It all started when plans were drawn up for a forecourt and restaurant in 1962. This led to the establishment of Lydenburg Motors Limited, complete with a Total forecourt.
According to the dealership records, the original premises were leased from Total SA by Bendries Motors en Agentskappe Pty Ltd. This was a company formed by Ben Havenga and Dries van Tonder, who used the facility to open a Renault dealership in town.
On 13 October 1971, Stonie Steenkamp established a Toyota dealership on this premises with an agreement from Toyota and an operating lease from Total SA.
Fifteen years after Stonie opened the Toyota franchise – on 1 December 1986 - Fanie Erasmus bought a 49% stake in the business and became the Dealer Principal.
Before joining Lydenburg Toyota as partner and DP, Fanie (Sr) was involved in the gold mining industry in the Free State. In his last position before entering the retail trade, Fanie was the mine manager of Cullinan Minerals in Lydenburg.
Fanie bought the remaining 51% in 1993 and became the sole owner of Lydenburg Toyota. In that same year, Fanie Jr finished his national service and joined his father. He took over the reins as DP in 2016.
“During 1997, the dealership in its totality, including the forecourt and convenient store, was rebuilt from scratch. In 2000, a part of the premises behind Lydenburg Toyota was acquired and transformed into the entrance to the dealership and in 2011 a new Automark division followed,” Fanie Jr tells Dealerfloor.
“But in 2011 we identified a brand-new premises in the eastern part of Lydenburg, and our current dealership was built here. We had the official opening in January 2012 and today we can rightly claim to have one of the most modern dealerships. In terms of sales and size, we are classified as a medium-sized dealership.”
Asked about the local economy and Lydenburg Toyota’s involvement in the community, Fanie says they are committed and very involved in their community.
“Mining and agriculture are the two big contributors to the local economy with platinum and on the farming side a lot of livestock, grain and citrus farmers, as well as tourism. Fly-fishing is especially popular in this region.”
He says although their area of responsibility is their main focus, they do deliver vehicles across the country thanks to Internet marketing. “In terms of the stock shortages all dealers are experiencing these days, you have to except it is something that is not in your control.
“Stock management is critical and sometimes you go with your gut-feel to increase stock levels where and if it is possible. On the used car side, we are very active but are aware of the high prices of used cars today owing to shortages on the new side.”
He says since the arrival of COVID-19 and the aftermath of the pandemic, they took their marketing campaigns to the next level, while also carefully controlling costs and focusing on increasing productivity levels.
And if the Erasmus families are not at the dealership, what do they enjoy most?
“We just love the bushveld and the sea and any outdoor activities,” he tells Dealerfloor.
Regardless of the persisting challenges related to COVID-19, business in the North West province seems to be on the upside.
Cas Kolbé is a lawyer by profession. But, like many other who came into contact with the auto industry, he had a completely different dream.
With a string of law degrees behind his name, Jannie Nell never became a law practitioner, but instead ventured into the motor retail business for a career.