Affordability without compromising quality, style and luxury is what South African car buyers yearn for. This is exactly what Chinese brands offer in a market where buyers have a thrifty approach to spending.
It comes as no surprise that Chinese vehicle franchises are growing in number as sales volumes reflect the popularity of these vehicles that are now becoming regulars amongst the top ten best sellers in the country each month.
The Hatfield Motor Group seized this opportunity to increase its footprint by adding two new GWM/Haval dealerships in Gauteng, complementing its existing Chinese brand portfolio consisting of GWM/Haval in Woodmead and Midrand.
GWM/Haval Menlyn and GWM/Haval Sandton opened its doors towards the end last year. Although both dealerships are mainly new car showrooms with a small workshop in the case of the Sandton branch, big plans are underway for both dealerships.
“We bought property in Sandton and will start building a state-of-the-art dealership consisting of sales, service and parts departments within the next 6 to 8 months. Our new dealership in Menlyn will undergo renovations to represent the latest specifications from the manufacturer. The combination of location and look will allow this facility to be the flagship GWM/Haval dealership in South Africa,” says Chris Beukes, Managing Director of the Hatfield Inc Division of the Hatfield Motor Group.
Corne Botes, who has a proven track record and sales experience, is steering the team at Sandton. Menlyn Sales Manager, Alet Jonker and DP Elsabe Herselman are building a team to take this dealer to great success. That makes it two new dealers and already three women managers. Chris says they believe in the best person for the job. HMG has a number of women Managers and/or Dealer Principals in the group.
“The uptake on the Chinese brands is excellent with a high appreciation from buyers on the quality, price positioning and range. Add to that a management team of industry experts at the helm of the operation in South Africa, solid back-up and the popularity of these vehicles is self-explanatory,” he tells Dealerfloor.
Chris says they are looking forward to the completion of both dealerships and that even in their first months as greenfields operations with no existing customer database and trading as sales only businesses, was good. “Our range, from pick-ups to SUVs that also includes a hybrid, gives buyers a chance to really find a vehicle that suits them.”
Asked about his view of the current state of the motor trade in the country, Chris tells Dealerfloor that although the situation with stock supplying has improved drastically, 2023 might still be a difficult year for the industry with limited growth. “I remain positive, and South Africans can adapt quickly to changing circumstances.
“Load-shedding is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. At dealership level, we are moving away from generators, because of the high running costs, to inverters and solar power to assist operations,” he tells us.
Chris, with a financial degree and an MBA behind his name was, amongst others, part of the Sewells MSX Group and joined the founder of the Hatfield Motor Group, Brad Kaftel, eleven years ago as DP at Volkswagen Braamfontein. He assisted in the acquisition of various Volkswagen dealerships in the years to follow.
Today the group is owned by Brad Kaftel and Joe and Khomotso Mthimunye with 30 dealerships representing 15 brands, including MAN and VW Commercial Vehicles.
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