Keep communication with customers open, honest

Now more than ever before, one must make sure that all systems are in place and that the communication between the dealer and customers is regular and honest.


With stock levels under pressure, you cannot keep customers in the dark about when they will receive the vehicle of their choice.

This is according to Jaco Barendse, new Dealer Principal at Oranje Toyota in Hartswater about the current struggle all dealers must face. “Backlogs in production, the shutdown of manufacturing plants in different parts of the world owing to COVID-19 outbreaks, combined with the crisis with the availability of semi-conductors cause serious challenges for retailers.

Jaco Barendse, new Dealer Principal at Oranje Toyota in Hartswater

“But despite this, we are positive and optimistic, and we make the business work with what we have and more importantly what we have control over. We are extremely fortunate to have the support in our group, CFAO Motors, with more than 30 Toyota dealerships. With the locally built Corolla Cross coming soon, and with all the new models Toyota SA introduced this year, the future is looking good.

“We go out of our way to keep current customers in our Toyota-family happy with a first-class customer experience. This will ensure that our workshop stays busy. We do our best to get quality, well-priced Automark vehicles as the pre-owned market is also suffering from the consequences of the low stock levels on the new car side. Used-car prices went through the roof and some used models are fetching higher prices than a similar new one, just because there is a shortage of new stock in certain models,” Jaco tells Dealerfloor.

“I joined the team here as DP during November, and I am proud of their commitment, hard work and dedication to Oranje Toyota Hartswater. From the cleaners to the managers, everyone is 100% committed and because of this, we are in the fortunate position that our current business has been in an upward curve for the last three years. It is also important to focus on your staff and to make sure that they are happy, which relates directly to good customer service.

“Toyota Hartswater is classified as a small dealership. Not only do we have opposition brands in our midst but also our own brand and group dealers not to far away in Kimberley and Vryburg. We are located halfway between these two towns in the heart of a big irrigation farming community with world class pecan nut farms and other crops like lucerne and further afield also big livestock farmers.”

Jaco says although they are in the Northern Cape, the proximity to the Free State and North-West provinces brings a larger spread of customers from places like Pampierstad, Taung, Jan Kempdorp, Christiana and Warrenton.

“I also believe it is important to be involved in the community in which we do our business. We are, after all, part of this community. We have close links to Round Table, and we identified schools where poverty is rife and assist kids with school gear and other resources where we can,” Jaco says.

  • Jaco was previously employed by the Oranje Toyota group and then had a stint with the Motus Group before re-joining the CFAO Group as DP in Hartswater.

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