Creating a strong customer base in your ‘own backyard’ so to speak, remains the best possible path to survival.
“Our sustainability depends on our ability to have a comprehensive relationship with our customers throughout the duration of vehicle ownership. This means that we want to be there when the customer buys a new vehicle, when he services his car, fits accessories, buys spare parts or trades in his old vehicle for a new one,” says Thinus Pienaar, Dealer Principal at Westvaal Motors, Rustenburg about his view that selling a car to a customer is not just a one-off transaction.
Westvaal Motors Rustenburg has Isuzu and Isuzu Trucks, Peugeot, Citroën and Opel under their roof.
Thinus says although the tendency these days is to do business all over the country, the dealership’s focus is on its direct area of responsibility in and around Rustenburg.
“We have to establish sustainability for the dealership through the brands that we represent. We must be there for our customers in our region, and although we deliver countrywide, we prefer to serve the customers in our immediate community and surrounding areas,” he tells Dealerfloor.
This philosophy is applicable to both the selling of new and used vehicles.
In terms of the Isuzu brand, he says: “ Although the agricultural and mining industries are some of our larger clients, the more luxurious double cab versions have proven to be immensely popular on the normal retail side.” He says private buyers, who buy double cab bakkies as leisure vehicles, make up a big portion of the monthly sales at this dealership.
Thinus, who cut his teeth in the industry at General Motors, Pretoria East, says he is extremely excited about the future of Opel, which recently became part of the PSA Group (which in turn is part of the larger Stellantis Group).
“Since the withdrawal of General Motors and Chevrolet, which by the way we still service and provide parts for, Opel was managed by CFAO Motors. PSA, however, recently took Opel into its stable in line with the global trend and will provide the backbone in terms of support, parts and products,” Thinus says.
“The two French makes, Peugeot and Citroën, are also increasing their footprint slowly but surely, and the commitment from the parent company to these brands on a variety of aspects makes them the ones to watch out for in the near future,” he says.
Talking about the dealership itself, Thinus says all the facilities are on one premises in a relatively new facility, which is about seven years old for which he has been the Dealer Principal for the last four years.
The dealership was also one of Absa’s Golden Partner Dealerships, an achievement they want to replicate as soon as possible. Another achievement was the award from Peugeot as the dealership that had the largest over achievement on sales in relation to its target. On the Opel side, the dealership ended under the three top dealerships in terms of achieving its sales goals for two consecutive years.
Thinus says in his spare time he loves to ride his motorcycle, play golf and to get his hands dirty in the garden.
Despite the severe drought in large parts of the Karoo, the motor business in Graaff-Reinet is stepping up with more brands being represented in this part of the world.
If a pandemic and stock issues aren’t enough of a challenge, why not add a building project/dealership revamp/moving of facilities and getting a second dealership to full independent dealership status to a DP’s list of tasks.
Scott Auto Mazda in Bethlehem has a proud history that stretches back nearly 50 years, which makes them one of the best-known Mazda dealers in the Free State.