Invest in your staff for good results

With an approach of “happy staff makes for happy customers equals happy results”, Riki Carriem, believes this to be the underlying success of his business.

23 Haval Cape Riki1

Riki, owner and Dealer Principal of GWM Haval Cape Gate and Chery Cape Gate as well as the same combo of dealerships in Somerset West, says investment in your personnel is first and foremost to having a successful business or in his case, vehicle dealerships.

“I have four Sales Managers who take charge at each of the dealerships and report to me. Structure and discipline are of utmost importance. In short, any business needs law and order,” says Riki who was recently awarded the number one spot in the mega category of Absa’s Golden Partner awards.

“It was an important award for us as the relationship stretches over decades from my first business in the panel beating industry and later venturing into the motor retail trade to my current position. I put all my eggs in one basket and have never been sorry about that,” Riki tells Dealerfloor.

Asked about the performance of the Chinese brands his business represents, he says that in terms of quality, price and technology, the brands are right there up with the best. “I have been involved as owner of established volume brand dealerships in the past, and I can honestly tell you that Chinese manufacturers have not only caught up but have in many cases surpassed the competitors.”

The neat entrance at the GWM side of one of the dealerships.
A Hybrid Haval H6 on the dealer floor.


Riki says if you take, for instance, industries like television and mobile phone manufacturers, the original, trusted established names disappeared after some time.

“Look who are the dominate forces in these and other industries today. Mostly Chinese brands leading the way with technology, quality and cost. The vehicle manufacturing industry is in essence no different from the above-mentioned industries,” Riki tells Dealerfloor.

He tells us the acceptance of the GWM Haval and Chery products in the Western Cape and specifically the region where their dealerships are located, is overwhelming. “We have a growing population with large numbers of people migrating to the Cape and more opportunities and more people are good for the growth of our business or any business for that matter.”

On the topic of electric vehicles (EVs), Riki believes it is the future and that hybrid vehicles are a good way to educate customers about driving a fully electric vehicle one day. “I drive a Haval H6 Hybrid and the savings in fuel costs are substantial.

“We must realise it is a question of commercial vs environment. With the pressure on the environment and the demand for lower or no emissions, the future of motoring will go the electric way,” concludes Riki.

A Haval Jolion demo at the Helderberg dealership.
Two new GWM P-Series bakkies at the dealership.

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  • 23 July 2024