Body repair firm to soar after merger with auto giant

Kariega businessperson, Lenro Stoltz, is taking his auto repair company to the next level after entering into a landmark merger with the Eastern Cape-based Kelston Motor Group.

22 Klelston Prestige1

What started out as Prestige Auto Body Repairers under Lenro and his late father in 1991, officially became Kelston Motor Body Repairers on October 1 this year. While Lenro continues to steer the repairs side of the business, the group will drive its long-term future and expansion.

The new direction was inevitable once Stoltz and Kelston managing director Mike McNaughton started discussing the value of pooling their assets to enhance their respective service offerings.

He says Kelston’s financial muscle will allow him to fast-track his vision for the erstwhile family business. “It is not always easy, or even possible, to implement new ideas when you are one person. Everything takes longer when you have to finance and execute it yourself.

“With the right backing, the risks are shared, and everything can move forward much faster. For me, this was an important factor in signing off on the deal,” Lenro says.

Kelston Motor Group has 21 dealerships offering 13 vehicle brands across the Eastern Cape, including in major centres such as Gqeberha, East London, Graaff-Reinet and Queenstown. It also has close ties with the agricultural and transport sectors in the country and rural areas.

“I have worked on many cars from Mike McNaughton from Kelston’s dealerships, and we started discussing the possibility of joining forces some time back with Kelson forming the majority shareholder in the new venture.

“I believe there is huge potential for growth and that the opportunity was equally attractive to Kelston as it gave the company access to fast, quality repairs for its fleet of vehicles. They have shown massive growth over the last couple of years, and this will equate into significant business for ‘our side’ of the business.”

Lenro says they will run the workshop and repairs as it is vital that we maintain the reputation that they have earned over more than 30 years. “I cut my teeth in my father’s repair shop after school when we still lived in Gqeberha, and I have been immersed in the auto business ever since.

“Prestige was born when we moved to Uitenhage in the early nineties and it’s something I’m hugely passionate about. That is why I have been motivated and driven to put in the hours all these years – not being successful is not an option when you are responsible for the livelihood of so many families.”

The younger Stoltz evidently has a nose for the repair business – literally and figuratively.

“I absolutely love walking into the shop after the Christmas holidays and taking in the aroma of the spray paint. With the industry ever evolving, it had been a rollercoaster ride to stay up to speed over such a long period,” he says.

“Fortunately, I was welcomed by the Uitenhage community from the outset and that has been extremely important for our business, Lenro concludes.”

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