Phalaborwa in Limpopo is well-known for its location adjacent to the Kruger National Park. The town is also known for its two military bases, two mines and yes, only two new vehicle dealerships (OEMs), namely Ford and Toyota.
Dealerfloor spoke to Jean Eksteen, Sales Manager at Phalaborwa Ford, about doing business in this town and region, which stretches in different directions towards Giyani, Tzaneen, Lydenburg and Mbombela (Nelspruit).
“Phalaborwa Ford is an independent dealership. It belongs to Morné Simpson who acts as the Dealer Principal as well. We are a category D dealership in Ford’s classification terms and have shown our strength in the Blue Oval camp.
The dealership was awarded Dealer of the Year in 2019 in its category, and Jean won the Sales Manager of Year award in 2018 and 2019.
“Like many towns and cities, the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative effect on Phalaborwa. In the aftermath of the original outbreak and strict lockdowns, we now battle stock shortages that damage business on both the new vehicle and used car side.
“The circumstances force you to think creatively, to do thing differently and work with what you have. We are fortunate that one of the mines, the copper mine, will be expanding. This means new contractors coming to town, staying for a number of years and bringing the necessary capital to our region,” Jean tells Dealerfloor.
“We do business with a diverse number of entities, from the mines, agriculture sector, local businesses and individuals to government departments in our town and the broader region. We also do not discount the role of tourism coming to this part of the world.
“The Ranger is the pillar of our business, and we are extremely excited about the next generation Ford Ranger although we will only see it later in 2022. In the meantime, the current Ranger will still soldier on with stock availability the only hurdle. I am, however, positive about the huge interest in the new bakkie, and we already have a waiting list.
“When Figos were more readily available, they sold in good numbers, especially with the absence of competition locally in Phalaborwa. Our SUVs such as the EcoSport and the Everest are also extremely popular, not in the least thanks to the condition of our roads and gravel roads in the Kruger Park and other game reserves in the area,” he says.
“We keep our workshop busy with special promotions in conjunction with the manufacturer. Because of the large distances from Phalaborwa, we give preference to customers who have travelled far to have their vehicles serviced. It helps to get them back on the road to their homes quickly and efficiently.”
“And last but not the least is our formidable team, which ensures top notch customer service and making business boom,” Jean says.
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