From mining to motors: A dream and a top title

Never underestimate the power of dreams, especially when they align with your passion. This rings true for Graham McManus and his father, Gordon, who dared to leave the mining industry behind 15 years ago to venture into the world of motor retail.

23 Mc Manus Nis1

Gordon, with his financial background, and Graham trained on the technical side of the mining industry and today boast of being the owners of the award-winning Nissan McManus dealership in the small southern Mpumalanga town of Piet Retief, nowadays called eMkondo.

Despite Nissan having closed its doors in Piet Retief 12 years ago, the father-son duo's combined skill set and determination prevailed. After years of hard work, being runners-up and winning various awards, they achieved the remarkable feat of being named the Dealer of the Year in the category for very small dealerships at the annual Nissan Dealer of the Year awards.

Graham and his father, Gordon, the owners of Nissan McManus in Piet Retief.

While Gordon still takes care of the finances, Graham’s forte is the selling side of the business and keeping an eye on the after-sales with his technical background.

Dealerfloor spoke to both father and son about this achievement, which they are very proud of to say the least.

Graham tells us they also acquired the Renault franchise about 18 months ago and together with Nissan they serve a vast region that includes among others, Piet Retief, Amsterdam, Paul Pietersburg and up to Pongola.

“We have a large timber industry with many factories and a big number of independent farmers connected to the industry in our region. Interestingly, a substantial part of the community is German speaking, and the annual German festivals like the Beerfest and other food festivals are well known,” Graham says.

Nissan McManus won their category in the Nissan Dealer of the Year awards.
The well-known Nissan dealership in Piet Retief.

Graham's passion for sales and his strong ties within the community have played a vital role in shaping McManus Nissan's direction. With the smaller NP200-bakkie nearing the end of its life cycle, the Nissan Navara has gained remarkable traction, not just among individuals in the timber industry but also with farmers at large.

With about a 22% share of the bakkie market in the area, it is not difficult to see that the family-orientated business has deep roots in the community since it opened its doors 15 years ago. Gordon says they are actively involved in the community and that their reputation and client-orientated way of doing business have brought back many Nissan customers over the years.

“We are anticipating a new direction for Navara bakkies with the demise of the NP200, and we have already started adapting our marketing strategy. The bragging rights and marketing value of us winning a highly sought-after title will most definitely give as a boost in this regard,” says Graham about their recent success at the Nissan Dealer of the Year awards.

“The introduction of the non-turbo Magnite offers a compelling entry-level option in the passenger car segment. Additionally, the shared aspects between the entry-level Renault models and their Nissan counterparts bring further advantages to our dealership. Talk of a new Renault bakkie also hold great promise for the dealership's future growth and success,” says Gordon.

Both Gordon and Graham say McManus Nissan stands as a shining example of how dreams, perseverance and a genuine commitment to serving the community can shape a remarkable success story. “With their passion, dedication and ongoing pursuit of excellence, we have positioned our dealership as a trusted name in the automotive industry and will continue to evolve and embrace new opportunities.”

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  • 23 July 2024