When it comes to dirty work and heavy lifting, Hannes van Reenen at Netech Distributors likes to tell dealerships, “relax, we got your back”.
He means it literally too, for apart from selling and maintaining lifting equipment, industrial tools and welding consumables to dealerships, his family-owned firm in Richards Bay also makes branded rip-stop canvas seat covers for all vehicles and trucks, but especially double-cabs.
“Our used car dealers often tell us the state of the upholstery makes or breaks a deal, which is why they like to add a new seat cover to a used bakkie to smarten up the interior,” says Hannes.
His wife and sales representative, Anne, adds Netech’s upholstery division has been producing top-end automotive seat covers since 2009 and adds it is not just used-bakkie sales that benefit from seat covers.
“From my experience, all owners love having this protection added to the deal, and sales staff are using our seat covers to engender customer loyalty. Our seat covers are UV protected and acrylic coated making them easy to clean with a damp cloth,” she says.
Explaining Netech’s process, Anne says expert seamsters personally embroider the brand of the vehicle or in the event of fleet sales – the company logo — on the seat cover. Because of this personal attention, more people are now asking to have their names embroidered to personalise their vehicles.
“Personalised seat covers make a different gift for the person who already has all the toys,” says Anne.
Asked which brand is the most popular, Hannes said Hilux, followed by Ranger.
“We are delivering to Toyota and Ford dealerships all over KwaZulu-Natal,” he says, adding the company also makes utility seats for club cabs, as well as canvas canopies and tonneau covers for bakkies of all sizes.
Hannes said he was optimistic about SA’s economy making a V-shaped recovery, starting with the car trade. He says he has seen several downswings followed by recoveries since he established Netech Distribution in 1999.
“If there is one thing I’ve learned, it is that whatever crisis we are in — ‘this too shall pass’. As an entrepreneur, I can say all we as business owners need to do to get the economy going after lockdown, is to stop any rent-seeking activities and ensure each transaction adds value. It is Economics 101 — and if I can sing my own praises, nothing adds value to a bakkie buy like one of Netech’s seat covers,” says Hannes.
His wife has the last word: “We are doing our bit by fixing our prices throughout summer,” adds Anne, “so contact us now while stocks last!”
Since their launch in 2017, rent-to-own company Planet42 (which started out as CarGet), has quietly grown into one of the single biggest clients for used car dealers in South Africa, having bought well over 2,000 cars from over 300 dealers.
Maemo Motors in Rustenburg is now a fully fledged four-brand dealership with Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, Mitsubishi and the recently acquired Kia, all under one roof.
“You can describe me as a no-cost-to-company salesman,” Alec Harris told Dealerfloor.