Travelling on the N3 on your way to the south coast is an experience many if not most people living inland are all too familiar with. And the trip wouldn’t be the same without a stopover in the Free State town of Harrismith just before crossing into KwaZulu-Natal.
And in case you experience car trouble, it is also the town with many vehicle dealerships that can assist to get you back on the road to your holiday destination.
One of the well-known car dealerships that opened its doors in Harrismith in the sixties was Dries Motors, established by Dries van Niekerk. With his son, Riaan, the current Workshop Manager, and daughter-in-law, Lynette, working on the admin side, the dealership is today part of the Mortimer Motor Group and is known as MMG Ford Harrismith.
According to the Dealer Principal, At Lombard, the reputation of the dealership to assist people in need with vehicle problems and getting them back on the road as quickly as possible, is well known. “We receive a number of acknowledgements in this regard from travellers thanks to our commitment and because of our location next to this busy, major route.
At, who took over the reins at the dealership in 2019, was previously also a Sales Executive at the same dealership. But before that, his interesting career, selling animal medicine, in a way prepared him for his career in the motor trade. Not only the selling aspect but in Harrismith the majority customers are farmers.
“The agriculture sector is especially important to our business, and it goes without saying, especially bakkies. At one point, Harrismith and the surrounding areas were known throughout as prime sheep farming country, but stock theft has put a damper on that.
“The emphasis in farming has shifted away from sheep to serious crop farming and some cattle farming. Our area of responsibility stretches to places like Kestell, Warden and Phuthaditjaba towards the Lesotho border side.
“Trading conditions are difficult with the problems surrounding stock. We have eight Ford dealerships in our group that help a lot to get hold of stock for customers and in some instances even talking to other Ford dealers. We manage to assist most of our clients with this process but unfortunately the short supply of stock means you cannot assist everyone.
“We have always focused extensively on customer service and now even more so. The circumstances are tough and could get even tougher, depending on a number of factors, from the crisis in India with the supply of vehicles and parts of many manufacturers to the possible diminishing of the backlog locally with the expansion of the Ranger plant in Pretoria,” At tells Dealerfloor.
“Despite this, we remain optimistic and as a team at the dealership, we know we have to work extremely hard and smart. The results show that we are doing well, including our workshop and the used car section, but we need to maintain the momentum and increase our results. I believe to lead by example and give credit where credit is due,” At concludes.
Despite the severe drought in large parts of the Karoo, the motor business in Graaff-Reinet is stepping up with more brands being represented in this part of the world.
If a pandemic and stock issues aren’t enough of a challenge, why not add a building project/dealership revamp/moving of facilities and getting a second dealership to full independent dealership status to a DP’s list of tasks.
Scott Auto Mazda in Bethlehem has a proud history that stretches back nearly 50 years, which makes them one of the best-known Mazda dealers in the Free State.