The Alpine VW dealerships in Pinetown and Hillcrest have won five awards in Volkswagen South Africa’s annual Grand Prix Awards involving 86 winners in 17 categories across South Africa.
At Pinetown, Sagren Naidoo is justifiably proud of his achievement of selling 220 cars in 2020, despite losing a month during hard lockdown and seeing slow trade since.
He told Dealerfloor his dealer principal, Spencer Tait, told him not to give up despite the tough trading conditions, so he decided to “just give it horns”. He admits selling South Africa’s best-selling passenger car post lockdown helped boost his numbers. “People are buying down and they are buying what they trust - which is the Polo.
But while the VWs may be selling themselves, he said it is going the extra mile for his clients that sees him closing the deal against competing dealerships.
“Ninety percent of my sales are referrals because I go all out to find the colour and model clients want. Then our finance department sources the best rates for the client, and then they tell their friends and family,” he said.
He says he does a lot of his marketing on Instagram, which he estimates leads to between two and three sales a month, but it is when walking in a mall and being recognised by the clients’ children that he realises the value of travelling to meet clients to demonstrate their chosen car.
The members of the Hillcrest team, which won four of the awards in Category B of Grand Prix Awards all have deep roots at Alpine VW Pinetown, but dealer principal, Tyrone Tait, said there was constant rivalry between the two branches to excel.
Asked to what he ascribed his dealership’s success, he pointed to the awards lining the shelves and walls and proudly asserted, “Because we are the A team!”
Tait joined the Club of Excellence with his Grand Prix passenger vehicles award, Shane Govender won the service manager award, Dineshin Odayar won the new vehicle sales manager award and Dylan Riley the used car manager award.
Tait said his branch, which is selling about 25 units a month and servicing many more, is growing in tandem with Hillcrest and is looking to move to bigger premises.
This was the second virtual awards ceremony to be streamed owing to limits on gatherings. Steffen Knapp, head of the Volkswagen Passenger Car brand, said VW’s 109-strong dealer network recorded a market share of 19% in 2020 and accounted for over 75% of Volkswagen’s total sales.
“I am proud of our dealers’ contribution and steadfast loyalty in growing the Volkswagen Brand in South Africa,” Knapp said in a statement.
A family business dating back to the 1940s in the Karoo town of Victoria West led to the establishment of two Ford dealerships in the town and neighbouring De Aar.
For the second time in the history of Volkswagen’s Grand Prix Awards, the ceremony, which was themed ‘Drive Your Future’, was streamed on a virtual platform owing to COVID-19 safety regulations.
Absa Vehicle and Asset Finance recently announced the winners of the 2020 Golden Partner Awards.