Brits Auto looking at the bright side

A positive outlook on business and a solid performance so far will determine the future and new plans for the three independent dealerships under the Brits Auto banner in this North-West town.

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The dealerships, which belong to Pieter van der Merwe and Lohan Otto, include Nissan, Ford and the latest acquisition, the GWM/Haval brands. Both of them are involved in the day-to-day running of the dealerships.

Pieter is a veteran of the motor industry with 39 years’ experience. He was a Vice-President of Nissan South-Africa from 2002 to 2005. In 2009, he acquired the Nissan franchise for Brits.

A year later Lohan, whose family has been prominent in the Brits area for three generations, and Pieter became business partners. Lohan has more 20 years’ experience in the motor industry with 17 years as a Dealer Principal.

Roadri de Beer and Joe Coetzer.

“We are grateful for a successful number of years with strong leadership from our two owners and dedicated dealer principals (DPs) at each of the three dealerships,” says Roadri de Beer, Marketing Assistant at Brits Auto.

“The Nissan and Ford dealerships are opposite each other with the GWM/Haval just a short distance away from them,” she tells Dealerfloor.

“At Nissan, Lize Lourens is at the helm of the dealership. She worked her way up from being a personal assistant, service advisor, sales executive, sales manager, service manager and now the DP at Nissan, where she took over the reins from Lohan. She has been with Brits Auto since 2011.

Lize Lourens.

“At our Ford Dealership, we have the experienced Joe Coetzer in charge as DP with 33 years in the business under his belt. Johan du Plessis was recently appointed DP at GWM/Haval. He was manager at another business outlet of the group and has 15 years’ experience in the motor trade.”

“We have a well-established name and reputation in Brits and the surroundings areas, but we also do a lot of business across the country. A number of our sales staff have built up such a solid reputation with customers over the years that we have repeat business from them coming our way from all the corners of the country,” Roadri tells Dealerfloor.

When asked about business conditions in Brits, she says no dealership could avoid the same fate with tougher business conditions owing to limited stock. “It is, however, how you manage the new circumstances that decides the outcome.

“We have been blessed, and although we had challenges on the bakkie side, we were able to secure stock by swopping vehicles with other dealers. Our region is a bakkie-world, with large agriculture communities and mining operations, and we have some big fleets in the security, passenger transport industry and the providers of ambulance services, which form part of our customer base,” she says.

Johan du Plessis.

“On the GWM/Haval side, we have only been operational since September, and the demand exceeds our expectations, with especially the Haval Jolion proving to be very popular,” Roadri says.

She reckons good interaction between the three dealerships means they can accommodate demands across a broad spectrum from potential customers.

And what does the future hold for the three dealerships in the Brits?

“We are optimistic that business conditions will improve, and we will expand in the future and continue to serve our community’s motoring needs, whatever they may be,” she concludes.

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