From humble beginnings to award-winning DP

From furniture salesperson to driver to award-winning DP.

22 Chery VDB Pisaac2

While Isaac Molotsi’s path is not common, it is certainly not that uncommon in the automotive trade where hard work and vision lead to success.

Isaac is the Dealer Principal of Chery Vanderbijlpark, which is part of the Star Motor Group. This dealer recently won silverware as the best medium-sized dealer in the network at Chery’s first Dealer of the Year Awards.

The path from furniture salesman to vehicle retailer started when Isaac’s keen eye for a sale and his easy manner with customers caught the eye of a customer who worked in the motor trade. The customer made Isaac an offer to join a dealer, and in 2000 he left his job to start as a driver at Hansie Roodt Motors in Vereeniging.

Isaac Molotsi, Dealer Principal at Star Chery Vanderbijlpark.
Isaac Molotsi, Dealer Principal at Star Chery Vanderbijlpark.

For Isaac, the eventual move from driver to salesman was a tough one, and he approached it with great reluctance. After three years, however, he capitulated and joined the used floor of the group’s Volvo dealership. His people skills and selling ability kicked in and he sold eight cars in his first month.

“Since then, there has been no turning back. I made use of every opportunity to learn as many aspects of the business as possible and had great colleagues over the years. The knowledge I gained in the furniture business and even as a driver at the dealership laid the foundation for what was to come,” Isaac tells Dealerfloor.

“I spent a couple of years at the dealership, then went on to became sales manager at Auto Pedigree for a period of time. Later I was approached when Imperial Select established a presence in the Vaal Triangle for a couple of years before returning to Auto Pedigree.”

Isaac says the real change for him happened when he was approached by Star Nissan in Vereeniging. Here he was asked to establish the Star Group’s taxi division, with amongst others things, its own showroom.

“Everything just felt right at the Star Motoring Group and working with its owner, Edwin Strauss, and the family, and it was an excellent opportunity to learn from the best about all aspects of the business.

“Unfortunately, Nissan stopped, producing minibus taxis, and the Star Group bought the Chery franchise and established the dealership on the same premises as its Nissan and FAW Trucks dealerships in Vanderbijlpark. I was asked to lead the team as DP at Chery, an absolute honour for me,” says Isaac.

“We opened up in November 2021 with only used vehicles, just to get everything going. During December and January, our first products arrived and it was simply a pleasure getting this business off the ground. I see Edwin as my mentor and the Star Motoring group as my family.”

The new Chery dealership in Vanderbijlpark, part of the Star Motor Group.
The new Chery dealership in Vanderbijlpark, part of the Star Motor Group.

Isaac tells Dealerfloor that joining the Group and the opportunity he was given really brought direction and purpose to his life and career. “The experience I acquired over the years in different positions at various dealerships led me to this moment, and Edwin took me to the next level,” Isaac says.

“I am also passionate about the Chery brand. I had been involved with Chery during my career in the motor trade, so the brand was not unknown to me. The brand was now brought back into the country by the manufacturer and that has certainly helped.

“It makes all the difference with decent infrastructure, support systems and above all, products that really capture the imagination of prospective car buyers. The success of the brand is reflected in the sales figures. These days customers are looking for quality with all the bells and whistles and the necessary back-up in terms of dealerships, warranties and maintenance plans.”

Asked how they achieved their success to win their category as a top Chery Dealership, Isaac says all systems across the business need to be in place. “It is not just about selling the most vehicles. It is also about your CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) and your performance in various segments of the total business.”

In terms of popularity between the different ranges, Isaac says it is a mix and not only the entry-level models of the smaller Tiggo 4 Pro range that are popular with buyers. We see buyers increasingly less interested in more prestigious brand names and rather choosing Chery as it represents value for money with the necessary quality and back-up.”

And finally – what is his motto and management style? “We are all professionals, no matter what job you are doing. In this regard, I like to treat my staff as such and generally consider myself as an easy-going person getting on well with everyone.

“I believe to keep your eye on the target, make sure you achieve your goals and always be honest with everyone. Never ever overpromise and underdeliver.”

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