It is great to be recognised through an award where your efforts are measured against other competitors with the same yardstick.
So says Pieter Uys, Dealer Principal at Auto Mall Renault in East London, about receiving the Absa Bank Golden Partner Award for Franchised Dealers in the category for Large Dealerships. It is the dealership’s first win in this competition.
“What gives real satisfaction, is the fact that you don’t aim to achieve this award. It comes as a result from conducting business in the best possible way you can, every single day. It is testimony to the fact that we are doing something right and that makes an award like this one very valuable to us,” Pieter tells Dealerfloor.
Pieter says they are part of the Automall Group owned by CFAO Motors. The Automall Group has several brands and dealerships in East London and Mthatha, including Nissan/Datsun, Honda, Kia, Haval, GWM and Renault.
“We are a multi-franchise group. The Renault Dealership, which won the award, is separate from the other dealerships. Even our workshop is located at our main offices about 5 kilometres from the dealership where some of our other dealerships and their workshops are.
“You can call the workshop a satellite workshop. Although on the same premises as some of our other dealers and workshops, our workshop is separate and functions on its own. At the Renault dealership, we only handle new and used vehicles sales,” says Pieter.
Pieter reckons the difficult circumstances, which all vehicle dealers are aware of and are trying to overcome, remain a serious challenge. “We are privileged to have a general used vehicles manager in our group who makes sure that we get enough and the correct type of used stock, and between the different branches we are able to help customers with a variety of models.
“With fewer trade-ins because of the shortages on the new car side and the smaller number of rental vehicles entering the used market, stock is a problem, and used cars are becoming very expensive and hard to come by.”
Pieter says on the new car side, the OEM played a tremendous role in ensuring dealers get enough stock of what is available. “Although we only have roughly about 60% of the total Renault model range available, we managed to trade close to pre-COVID levels with that percentage of models at our disposal.
He says the economy is feeling the pinch of the parts shortages that led to new model shortages. The manufacturer of new vehicles in East-London is also suffering from the global problem with sectors involved here tightening their belts.
“This leads to potential customers hanging on to their money longer. “Fortunately, we have a big state sector that still has strong buying power and a mixture of other businesses and the agricultural sector in and around East London as well as many smaller towns in the region.”
He says notwithstanding the challenges facing the industry and dealers, he is optimistic about the future, and he just wishes the uncertainty surrounding the stock shortages could be resolved sooner rather than later.
Pieter joined the motor trade in 2004 and was part of the Automall Group in different capacities within the group from day one. In his private time, he says he loves cycling, but his big passion is CrossFit which he does with his son.
Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA) kept the wheels rolling this year with the opening of five new dealerships in four provinces.
The latest addition to the Stellantis dealer network is a large, new Super Group multi-franchise facility in Jacaranda Street, Hennopspark, Centurion, for Jeep, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot and Citroën.
We can overcome all the hurdles placed in front of us if we recognise our biggest asset in business is our people, says Rob Downs the Dealer Principal at CMH Nissan and Mitsubishi Pinetown.