BYD making serious inroads in Pretoria

The acceptance of their electric vehicle range (EV) is nothing short of excellent so far, says André Lemmer, Dealer Principal at the BB Group’s BYD and Nissan multi-franchise in Hatfield, Pretoria.

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“Since our opening of the BYD dealership a mere couple of weeks ago, we have already delivered four Atto 3 models, one of the newly released Dolphins, with two more Dolphins waiting to be delivered within days,” he tells Dealerfloor.

André says there is no denying that the future of motoring is changing over to battery powered or alternative powered, vehicles. “Although South African consumers are still slow on the uptake of EVs, largely owing to their higher end pricing, perceptions are changing. Even on price, arguments in favour of EVs can be made compared to their petrol or diesel class competitors.”

André Lemmer, Dealer Principal.

Asked about the profile of the EV buyers, he says so far it is a cross section of typical car buyers. “We have also seen interest shown by business and fleet owners in EVs as the savings on fuel and maintenance costs are substantially higher compared to the equivalent vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE).

“Savings with EVs can be as much as 70%, depending on the frequency of use, where you charge and the fact that when it comes to servicing it is a different and cheaper ball game compared to traditional ICEs.

“BYD is the world leader when is comes to electric vehicles and batteries in terms of sales and technology. It will be the only manufacturer in South Africa with a complete range consisting of EVs. More models, including a bakkie, will be added to the line-up in time,” André tells Dealerfloor.

Bennie Venter, manages the sales of the new BYD range.

When is comes to the model ranges, he says they currently have the Atto 3, a medium size Crossover/SUV with two derivatives, the Standard and the Extended. The same applies to the new Dolphin, a Golf-size vehicle and currently the cheapest EV in the country, with both models retailing for between R500 000 and R600 000.

André tells us that although all the vehicles come standard with a wall plug charger, a higher output charger is sold separately and can be installed at the house to speed up the charging time. “There are charging stations at various public places such as malls and along the main routes where an EV’s battery can be charged from 10% to 80% within an hour. Many people also have solar systems at home to charge batteries off the grid.”

On the Nissan side, André tells us although only the Magnite and the Navara bakkie are currently driving the business, both are performing well, and he believes the offering of more vehicles is on the cards in the near future.

Since his appointment as DP at the beginning of last year, André says they have re-organised the dealership and strategised and assembled a team that is motivated. This approach turned the dealership’s fortune around, and with the addition of BYD, business conditions improved dramatically.

“We have a top-class team and everyone at the dealership, from the guy at the washing bay to management, knows what our vision and plan are. Remember, a happy and motivated staff complement is crucial. No matter what you are selling, if the happiness and willingness of the human component are absent, the business will be in dire straits,” according to him.

André has been with the BB Group for many years, working at different dealers, but always Nissan dealerships. He and the dealerships where he has worked have won numerous awards over the years.

Most notable is the best Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) for four years running at his previous position which, he says, is testimony to their approach of putting the customer first. “This cannot happen without the best people working for you,” he says.

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