To be pro-active is the way to do business in the difficult circumstances car dealers face during this time and even more so when you are new to a region.
In Bethlehem, it means you get in your bakkie and drive from town to town in your area of responsibility introducing yourself to businesspeople ranging from panel beaters, workshop owners to possible business or fleet owners driving Isuzus.
This is the philosophy of Blomerus Myburgh, new Dealer Principal at Morgan Isuzu in Bethlehem in the eastern Free State, who took over the reins recently at what was previously known as Bethlehem Auto. The Morgan Group has taken over the dealership with the new signage going up soon.
“Although I know the product very well, having been DP at various Isuzu dealerships gaining personal knowledge about the region and its people, your customer base remains essential.
“My Parts Manager and I visit towns and businesses in the area at least twice a week. This includes towns in our area of responsibility like Lindley, Ficksburg, Frankfort, Harrismith and Reitz. It is an effort that bears fruit. People appreciate the gesture and the contact made from our side, and we have accumulated good business this way,” Blomerus tells Dealerfloor.
“Being located in a rural region, it goes without saying that the agriculture sector is pivotal in any business that sells bakkies. Good rains bring good fortune for this sector, and Isuzu remains a popular choice. Businesses and clients from QwaQwa and neighbouring Lesotho are part of our customer base.
“The shortage of certain models, with especially single cab Fleetside workhorses and the popular Extended Cabs not so easy to come buy on a regular basis, while double cabs are less of a problem. We are fortunate to be part of a strong group to assist with finding a vehicle for a client,” he says.
Blomerus says they are fortunate their workshop is busy and doing very well, and the used car division is busy but also full of challenges finding the right stock at reasonable prices. “We are constantly looking to obtain good quality vehicles through different ways. This includes buying directly from the public. What also contributes to the problem is the absence of a trade-in when a customer buys a new car.
“It is also true that some customers are holding back in anticipation of the arrival of the new Isuzu bakkie range but that will only happen sometime next year. If the supply of stock can just get to more normal levels, we will have enough interest to do a lot of business,” says Blomerus.
Asked about his style to lead the team, Blomerus says he believes in honesty and creating a good and comfortable working environment for his staff. “We have a good team and can boast that one of our salespeople, Lazarus Makoena, has 30 years and six months of service at this dealership under his belt,” says Blomerus.
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.