Westvaal Klerksdorp has seen sales bounce back strongly and the new Dealer Principal is ready for the future.
Although he is in his new post for less than three months, Anthony Olivier says he has had to settle in quickly and that sales have fortunately recovered well despite the general challenges faced by the retail industry.
“As a Jo’burg ‘boytjie’, from a very English environment, even my Afrikaans has improved since my arrival in Klerksdorp,” he says with a smile in his voice.
Anthony took over as DP at Westvaal during November last year with four brands, Isuzu, Honda Peugeot and Citroën sharing one premises in the big North West town. The dealership also has a large InspectaCar-floor for its used vehicles.
“We are privileged as we set new records in terms of sales and workshop activity since the middle of last year when COVID-19 restrictions were eased. We have two buildings on the premises with one accommodating Isuzu, Honda and InspectaCar, and Peugeot and Citroën housed in the other one.
“Although we have dedicated sales and workshop personnel for each brand, our staff members are well trained to do cross sales and assist whenever help is needed. The multi-franchise set-up helps to reduce overheads without the duplication of positions, for instance we have one service manager and one parts manager. More brands mean more feet and thus more potential customers,” Anthony says.
Asked about the performance of the different brands, he says Isuzu remains hugely popular. “We do a lot of business with the agricultural sector in our region, and farmers have a special relationship with Isuzu-bakkies.” Anthony says they also have some business fleets in Klerksdorp that they take care off and to a lesser extent with the shrinking mining industry in the area.
“We recently – about a year ago – acquired the Peugeot and Citroën franchise. The French brands might still be niche for some people, but both ranges are quite new. We recently launched the fabulous new 2008 SUV, which looks like a miniature version of the popular and bigger 3008. Our small 108 is also favourite with customers.
“Honda has a solid reputation and especially automatic versions are liked by loyal Honda brand customers, who continually return to upgrade their vehicles based on reliability and ease of ownership”, he says.
While sales have improved, Anthony and his team are keeping a close eye on the changing lockdown restrictions.
“I believe if there are no intensification or stricter lockdown regulations, we can manage and even grow, but not all dealerships are out of trouble,” Anthony says.
He reckons his focus is on customer satisfaction. “If your customers are happy with the product, the service and their experience at the dealership, it can only bode well for the future of your business.”
Anthony’s career path is intwined with that of Peugeot and Citroën in South Africa where he held positions at the company’s head office. Later he joined the Trust Auto Group, whose holding Company was a part shareholder of PCSA before being appointed as Dealer Principal at Westvaal in Klerksdorp.
In his spare time, Anthony likes to play golf, go on a leisurely Sunday ride on his Ducati 950, and he likes to do odd jobs in and around the house.
Despite the severe drought in large parts of the Karoo, the motor business in Graaff-Reinet is stepping up with more brands being represented in this part of the world.
If a pandemic and stock issues aren’t enough of a challenge, why not add a building project/dealership revamp/moving of facilities and getting a second dealership to full independent dealership status to a DP’s list of tasks.
Scott Auto Mazda in Bethlehem has a proud history that stretches back nearly 50 years, which makes them one of the best-known Mazda dealers in the Free State.