Excellent relationship between Toyota, farmers

While still in school, he sold his first Toyota Hilux. No wonder that GD Kotze has been the Dealer Principal at Oranje Toyota in Bothaville for the past 12 years, in the heart of the country’s maize triangle. In this region, a Hilux and farming go hand in hand.

Toy GD01

His grandfather and father had the Toyota dealership in neighbouring Viljoenskroon where he spent most of his free time at the dealership learning the ropes of the business from an early age.

With the exception of three years, GB has been part of the Toyota family and there is no doubting his passion for the brand in this important food-producing region.

Oranje Toyota, part of the CFAO motor group, in Bothaville.

“Hiluxes are big business in this part of the world, which is considered one of the richest maize-producing districts in South-Africa. We live with the farmers. You can even say we farm with the farmers because the Hilux bakkie and other Toyotas play an integral part in producing food for our country.

“It is easier to sell a Hilux than to plant seeds in a straight line,” GD says on a lighter note about the close relationship between the dealership and the farming community. Our area includes farming communities from important crop-growing towns like Wesselsbron, Hoopstad and Viljoenskroon,” he tells Dealerfloor.

And with the terrible drought of a few year ago now in the rear-view mirror, what are the prospects for this season, we asked him. “The heavy rainfall we are currently experiencing is creating a new set of problems for farmers. Although all is not lost, a large number of farmers will not be able to harvest their crops,” GD says.

GD Kotze, Dealer Principal.

“Extreme weather conditions, be it drought or floods, will always be a problem in the agricultural sector. Unstable conditions impact business negatively, especially those businesses that have a close relationship with the agricultural sector.

“With so much water on the farms, more maintenance and sometimes repairs on vehicles are needed. Farmers cannot move around many areas without often traversing very deep waters.

“Our workshop is busy, and we do our utmost to assist farmers who might run into trouble in this regard. I can also mention that our Aftersales Department, which includes our workshop, has won awards from Toyota South-Africa for two years in row now.”

Asked about the used side of the car market, GD says that while a large part of their new vehicles business is done in their region, like most dealerships, they also sell used cars across the country. “It is important to meet the needs of your own community and region. It creates a lot of repeat business in terms of repairs, spares and services.

The Automark section for used vehicles at Oranje Toyota in Bothaville.
Signs of the extremely high rainfall and muddy conditions on farms are clearly visible on bakkies.

“Our product range and its importance in the kind of region we do business in, speaks for itself. On the used vehicle side, we are more flexible to do business much wider. Oranje Toyota also has a good reputation and solid name. The fact that we are part of a larger group (CFAO) helps us to fulfil customer needs much more efficiently,” he says.

GD tells Dealerfloor they are involved in the local community at various levels, from assisting soup kitchens that help people in need to schools that include farm schools and churches in the town and a number of other projects.

“Last but most definitely not least, is the community of Bothaville. We have some of greatest and most warm-hearted people here, and you can also see that in our staff as well. We have great people working at Oranje Toyota in Bothaville, we have an exceptional low staff turnover, and all of our personnel are Jacks of all trades and are able to do any task and assist any customer.”

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