Keeping the wheels rolling in Vryheid

With thirty years’ experience in the motor trade, Stefan Kruger knows his way around the car business.

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Dealerfloor spoke to Stefan who is the Dealer Principal of the MMG’s Hyundai dealership in Vryheid, in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

His career started at a Ford dealership in Pretoria. He spent time at VW and Audi dealerships and did some wholesale on his own before returning to the dealer floor with the German brands and the last couple of years as DP at Ford in Vryheid and now with Hyundai.

Stefan Kruger, Dealer Principal at Hyundai in Vryheid.

He is, however, not only DP at Hyundai in the town, but he also oversees the Ford dealership that has since become a satellite branch of the Ford dealership in Newcastle. He also looks after the group’s used car business in Vryheid.

With the opening of a new Mahindra dealership in Vryheid, his knowledge and experience will also be available to the new business joining MMG’s ranks in the town.

“With business conditions being what they are, managing your costs is crucial to be financially viable, especially in the more rural areas like ours. For this reason, the Ford dealership became a satellite branch of the one in Newcastle, saving on the backroom and administrative costs but still providing a full-fledged dealership to customers.

“The Ford Ranger and the EcoSport are the two front runners for the Blue Oval in our region, and we cannot wait for the arrival of the brand-new Ranger and Everest. On the Hyundai side, we have a large number of different SUVs that are also extremely popular.

“We grew the Hyundai brand significantly in our region and have met our sales targets regularly for the last couple of years. It is a wonderful brand in terms of the variety from entry level vehicles covering the full spectrum up to the new and modern Staria, which pushes the price envelope to around R1 million,” Stefan says.

“The Hyundai brand’s reputation contributes hugely to the brand’s sales success, and you only see the vehicles when they are brought in for servicing. Our region has a large timber industry and agriculture sector, which, together with government departments based in Vryheid, play a key role as economic drivers and with a keen interest in our bakkies.”

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Stefan says although the Internet has changed the way business in this sector was traditionally done, a local focus is of utmost importance to them. “The Internet helps to sell vehicles and do business across the country. A strong local or regional focus stimulates repeat business and the fact that the vehicles come to our dealership for service and repairs is logically to our benefit,” he tells Dealerfloor.

“Being part of a large group like MMG, also helps us with minimising the impact of the stock shortages and the resources the group offers assist us tremendously in running the business. While the challenges remain worldwide with new stock being limited, renewed emphasis i placed on preowned vehicles. It brings its own set of challenges in terms of pricing, but it is another way to assist clients to obtain a vehicle.”

Asked about the future, Stefan says he is optimistic and that the motor retail industry still has enormous potential. “I believe the current drawbacks we experienced the last two years have reach a turning point and that a better future awaits the industry.”

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