We place ourselves in the shoes of our customers every day and in every aspect of the business. This approach is the biggest contributing factor to our success. Our biggest asset is our staff who make this success possible.
So says Haneef Laher, Regional Manager of Volvo Trucks and Buses Johannesburg, after the dealership won the top title at Volvo Trucks SA’s annual Dealer of the Year awards.
“We have a team that works very hard, is highly skilled, motivated and focused on the customer’s needs. Our dealership, which belongs to Volvo Trucks SA, is probably the largest Volvo Trucks dealership in Africa. With a staff complement of around 90 people, we boast not only highly motivated people, but skilled experts across the board,” Haneef tells Dealerfloor.
The dealership’s success is not a lucky strike, but the third time it won the Dealer of the Year accolade. “We came out top in 2018 and then in 2021 and now consecutively in 2022. We have 19 Volvo Truck dealerships in the country, and Volvo Trucks SA, which forms part of Volvo Group Southern Africa, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volvo Group in Sweden.”
Haneef says their dealership could accommodate up to 50 trucks a day for services and repairs. Although the majority are Volvo trucks, they also have some Renault trucks as these were imported to South Africa earlier on by Volvo Group Southern Africa.
“We specialise in the extra-heavy commercial trucks with our Volvo FH 440 being one of the most popular trucks in South Africa in its category. Our trucks or customers’ trucks, travel well beyond South Africa’s borders and even up to the DRC. We use independent, approved partners to assist in some neighbouring countries if a problem arises.”
He is excited about the launch of the first fully electric Volvo truck in South Africa, which brings a new dimension to the business. The first Volvo EV truck has already been sold with more to follow soon. These trucks are specifically aimed at the regional and intercity transport assignments and are well-suited for delivering loads from distribution centres to retail centres.
“The electric truck can do up to 300 kilometres depending on loads before needing to charge, and the lower maintenance means less downtime. Add to that the saving aspect on diesel considering the high diesel fuel prices and there is a definite advantage when it comes to operating costs,” he says.
Haneef says the stiff price tag on the new EV trucks will affect sales as it is more than double the price of the normal, equivalent diesel trucks. “It will take some time to make up the price difference with the savings, but it is a fact-finding mission that will certainly become more competitive in the future,” he tells Dealerfloor.
“We are excited about what the future holds in terms of transport and the fact that we are going to put the first fully electric Volvo truck on South Africa’s roads. With very little signs of the improvement of the rail infrastructure in the country, road freight is a reality to keep the country’s economy going,” says Haneef.
Haneef will soon celebrate his tenth anniversary with the award-winning dealership. He has been in the vehicle trade since 1988. He spent many years on the passenger side in different capacities with 22 different brands for different motor groups. Before joining Volvo, he worked for Motus (previously Imperial) for 19 years, and he has extensive experience in the truck business.
And how does he feel about the future? “I am optimistic, especially with the electric vehicle dispensation dawning on us. We at Volvo play an important part in keeping the wheels of our economy rolling, literally.”
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