Running what is probably the largest new car dealership in North West province, is not an easy task. Add to this, overseeing a second dealership in another town as well as other business interests, takes an effort second to none.
And on top of this, he was chairperson and rotating secretary since 2004 of Toyota’s National Dealer Advisory Council, which acts as a link between dealerships and Toyota South Africa. He retired as chairperson last year.
Dealerfloor spoke to Johann Snyman, Dealer Principal at Rustenburg Toyota, co-owner of Toyota Lichtenburg and part of the Dada Group of Botswana with various dealerships in the neighbouring state, including five Toyota dealers, as well as dealerships for Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Land Rover and Hyundai.
Johann’s career started in 1976 with Leon’s Motors in Rustenburg; in 1982 he joined Muhl’s Motors Rustenburg as MD and in 1999 he become part of the Dada Group.
“During 2014, we built a new dealership roughly three times the size of our previous one, at a different premises here in Rustenburg. We are now in the process of switching over to more green energy with solar as our main source of power supply.
“We are classified as a mega dealership, and we service on average 100 cars a day. Although stock shortages now dictate a different reality, before the worldwide economic collapse in 2008, we sold as many as 110 new cars a month. Today, of course, it is less with everything that happened, especially since the arrival of the pandemic.
“Although the crisis in the supply chain of the manufacturing sector lingers on worldwide, we are doing well financially. What we get, we sell, and discounts are something retailers cannot afford any more if they want to sustain profitability.
“New-vehicle sales are the factory for the used car market. With fewer new cars sold, you can just imagine the resultant problems. The sky-high prices for used cars could take some customers out of circulation from the car market when a more normal situation returns.
“It will take people who pay extraordinarily soaring prices for used vehicles, four to five years to get back in the game. Getting a trade-in that covers what you owe, will be difficult. The ‘best used’ buy is still a brand-new vehicle,” Johann says.
“At Rustenburg Toyota, we are fussy when it comes to used cars. We focus on used Toyotas and some other brands. Cars must be preferably newer models with not too high mileage on. We try to maintain a balance in terms of what we pay and what we sell them for to get customers to come back and be able to trade in their vehicles for others,” Johann says.
Johann says in 2014 Rustenburg Toyota won the prestigious Sewells Dealer of the Year award that look at dealerships throughout the country across all brands. The dealership was also a finalist in 2015, 2017 and 2019. We were blessed with many more accolades over the years,” Johann tells Dealerfloor.
“We opened the Toyota dealership in Lichtenburg in 2004 with Nico Pretorius who was under my wing for many years here in Rustenburg as the Sales Manager. They are doing very well, notwithstanding the negative publicity the town received when the Clover factory closed down recently owing to the bad service delivery of the local municipality.
Asked about business conditions in Rustenburg, Johann says their customer base is predominantly linked to the mining industry, directly or indirectly, which is the economic driving force in the region. “We see fewer private buyers, because of the financial difficulties these days. There are a fair amount of smaller fleet customers and a reasonable amount of business from the agriculture sector. In Lichtenburg, the business is mostly from the agriculture sector, which is the backbone of the economy there,” he says.
And what does the future hold? “It is now important to consolidate your expenses and concentrate on staff loyalty, training and maintaining profitability. The growth and expansion will come later when we see a normalisation of the supply chain problems. Hopefully, towards the second quarter of 2022, we will see a vast improvement stock availability and sales,” Johann concludes.
The Eastern Cape will benefit from a major expansion drive by Mahindra in the province with three new dealerships waiting in the wings.
Volvo Trucks & Buses Johannesburg scooped up the top award as the 2023 Mega Dealer of the Year during the truck manufacturer’s Dealer of the Year awards.
To turn the ship around, so to speak, was no easy task for Prishen Ghandhi (photo), Dealer Principal (DP) at Hyundai Umhlanga, winner of 2023 Dealer of the Year (DOTY) title.