They are ready and excited about the new multi-franchise dealership that will be fully operational in January with the final completion done by March next year.
So says Phillip Els, Dealer Principal, at Eastvaal Ford & Mazda in Secunda about the addition of Kia and Renault to create a fully-fledged multi-franchise dealership in the industrial heartland of Mpumalanga. He has been the DP at Eastvaal Ford and Mazda since October 2019 and has a number of years’ experience in the automotive trade, among others as a DP.
“Our existing premises and building complex, which used to accommodate Ford and Mazda for many years, is more than adequate to add the two new brands that will join us. We will house our used vehicles on the premises with possibly moving it to a new location close by that we have bought,” he tells Dealerfloor.
Phillip says they have decided to relocate the Renault dealership from Bethal to Secunda because of a bigger customer base in the industrial town, while Kia is a brand-new addition. “I believe the Renault brand will do much better here, and we already have a big car parc in Secunda for both the French brand as well as Kia. This augurs well for our after-sales department.
“Our revamp of the dealership premises is being rolled out in three phases with the first being the preparation of the new showrooms for Renault and Kia. The second and third phases are the new CSIs (corporate identities) for Ford and then Mazda.
He says that in typical multi-franchise fashion the backroom duties will be shared, and they have separate technicians for all four brands in one large workshop. “On the Ford side, we are also considered a Guest Experience Dealership, which means we go the extra mile in terms of customers.
“Our mantra is a customer-centric approach, and it starts from when a customer enters the dealership through to all departments, in other words all touch points are handled with additional flair and finesse. It entails extra care and even some small tokens of our appreciation to make customers feel more welcome,” Phillip says.
Asked about the business conditions in Secunda, Philip says the town is booming with a number of new businesses owing to Sasol’s growth and investment in the area as well as the role of the coal mines. “From Secunda, we service a number of surrounding towns like Bethal, Evander, Kinross all the way to Standerton, depending on the brand and how many dealerships are in the region.
Phillip tells Dealerfloor that like most municipalities in the country, the deteriorating infrastructure is a major concern as problems around a secure water supply clearly show. “We have a huge generator with extra capacity, which was installed some time ago and will now, with the revamp we will install water storage tanks to ensure water availability throughout the day.”
He says the dealership is involved in several community activities, among others the Kosmos-3-in-1 marathon and the starting point of a round of the South African National Rally Championship.
Two women at the dealership, Thuli Nkonyane and Zandile Nzoyiya, took the initiative and started a fun and fitness run on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at around 17:00. They start at the dealership, and anyone is welcome to join in.
And does he have a specific managing style?
“I believe that our staff must be happy. A happy workforce will deliver their best and that is what is needed in our competitive environment and our approach to deliver a customer experience second to none,” Phillip says.
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