De Wit Motors: expanding its success story

Building on the trust and support of a community will bear fruit for decades to come. This is the success recipe of De Wit Motors Ermelo in central Mpumalanga where the well-known motoring group just added another brand.

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De Wit Motors is in the final stages of preparing for the opening of the new Kia dealership to supplement its existing brand portfolio. These brands include Mercedes-Benz (MB) passenger cars and the commercial vehicles (Daimler Trucks, MB Vans and Fuso), Mitsubishi and Hyundai.

What makes the history of De Wit Motors so interesting is the fact that this family-run business started in the 1950s when Hannes and Ester de Wit kicked-off with a dealership selling, among others, Volkswagen, Peugeot and Studebaker.

Mark Raine (Co-CEO Mercedes-Benz passenger cars), Philip Coetzer (Dealer Principal) and Johan & Elna Coetzer (Directors) at this year’s Mercedes-Benz Vans annual Agent & Dealer of the Year awards.

Motors Mercedes-Benz followed in 1960, and their two children, Christiaan and Elma de Wit, later became involved in the business, taking over the reins as the next generation of De Wits taking the dealership to new highs in Ermelo.

Christiaan passed away in 1998, leaving Elma and her husband, Johan Coetzer, to continue the legacy of De Wit Motors with their two sons, Philip and Marnus Coetzer.

And today the third generation of the family with Philip and his brother Marnus take charge at De Wit Motors Ermelo. Philip is the Dealer Principal (DP) on the passenger side with Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Kia while Marnus is the DP at the commercial vehicle side of the business.

At a previous Daimler Trucks Dealer of the Year awards ceremony, Jasper Hafkamp (the then CEO Daimler Trucks and Busses), Marnus Coetzer (Dealer Principal at Daimler Trucks De Wit Motors) and Maretha Gerber (Vice President of Sales and Marketing MB Commercial Vehicles).

And although the two brothers run the business, their parents, Johan and Elma, are still involved on a daily basis with De Wit Motors.

Dealerfloor spoke to Philip about the history and the future of De Wit Motors. “We have a rich history, not only in Ermelo, but also the surrounding towns in our region. Customers have come to know and trust us over decades. The 15 top awards, which include Dealer of the Year awards are testimony to our commitment to exceptional service,” Philip says.

“Ermelo is surrounded by a big agricultural sector as well as the coal mining industry. We are also very strategically located with main routes going through Ermelo to Eswatini, Richards Bay and Durban with larger industrial towns like Emalahleni and Secunda, as well as other towns such as Dullstroom, Piet Retief and Standerton.

The brand-new Kia dealership has just opened its doors as part of De Wit Motors.
Hyundai and Mitsubishi are also part of De Wit Motors in Ermelo.

“We sell by far the most vehicles in our region, which augurs well for the after-sales department in terms of servicing and the selling of parts. With Hyundai, Mitsubishi and soon Kia as part of the De Wit Motors group, the administration of these brands, is relatively easy. As they are all Motus-owned brands, the integration into the operating system at the dealership is done effortlessly.

“All our dealerships are within close reach of each other. Kia will be housed on the premises where Mercedes-Benz passenger cars are to be found, and the workshop for al four our car brands is here. Hyundai and Mitsubishi are on a different premises as are our commercial operations,” he tells Dealerfloor.

Philip says the different teams at all the dealerships are first class and specialists in their various fields. “We have a very low staff turnover, which is a good indicator of the stability we provide and tells a good story to customers and contributes to the repeat business we get.”

On the question of electric vehicles, Philip says it cannot be ignored as this it is where the future is. “The uptake on these vehicles is still relatively low because of ‘loadshedding’, which creates all sorts of negative scenarios and pricing of the vehicles. At our dealership, we have a huge solar capacity and two charging stations where EV owners can come and charge their vehicles for free. It is also a good opportunity for these customers to see our latest product offerings and bringing foot traffic to a dealership can only be to our advantage,” he concludes.

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