New DP believes in transfer of skills, knowledge

Each one should teach one says Wessel Tshabalala.

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Wessel is the new Dealer Principal at Pat Hinde Toyota in Boksburg. He firmly believes in this and that a culture of teaching and sharing lays the foundation for sharing knowledge, uplifting people and empowering staff.

Wessel officially took over the reins as DP of this large Toyota dealership, part of CFAO Motors, at the beginning of the year.

“I have been with Toyota my whole career, and the manner in which the manufacturer handled the crisis at our Prospecton plant in Durban after the flood in April was just so reassuring and professional.

Pat Hinde Toyota Boksburg, part of the well-known CFAO Motor Group.

“The plant is open for business again and although it might take some time for dealers to clear their backlogs, it is happening much faster than we thought possible. If you add the great support that we receive from our group, we can confidently say that we are firing on all cylinders at the Pat Hinde Toyota Boksburg,” he tells Dealerfloor.

Wessel says his emphasis on learning and teaching comes from the way his career developed, both with Toyota as a brand and with CFAO. He says that giving back is not only necessary, but deeply satisfying.

He started his career at CFAO as an apprentice at Killarney Toyota in Houghton, Johannesburg.

A part of the showroom floor with a new minibus taxi ready for delivery.

“I am a trained technician and then became the technician team leader at the dealership. In 2009, I moved to CFAO Toyota East Rand as workshop foreman.

In 2010, Wessel’s technical skills and abilities were acknowledged when he was promoted to the CFAO Head Office as Technical Expert support, training and assisting technical staff throughout the group across the country.

“In 2018, I left Gauteng and was promoted to our dealership in Limpopo as Service Manager. I was recalled in 2021 to start my training with Toyota SA as Dealer Principal while being stationed as Service Manager at CFAO Rivonia Toyota.

“I was also trained at Pat Hinde Toyota Boksburg with the then DP, André Breytenbach, who was a great mentor to me. He is now heading up our Toyota branch in Tokai in the Cape.

Wessel Tshabalala, Dealer Principal at Pat Hinde in Boksburg.

“Wherever I went, I learned a lot and that contributed hugely to my success. That is why I try to give back as much as possible in the form of training and the transfer of skills, even over weekends,” Wessel tells Dealerfloor.

Asked about the dealership, Wessel says Pat Hinde has a rich and long history and that the valuable name celebrates its 50th birthday this year. It started as a privately owned group until it was bought in 1989 by then Malbak Group, which was then bought by Unitrans motors, which ultimately became part of CFAO motors.

“I am privileged and honoured to be the seventh DP since it was acquired by our group.

“Our dealership has a strong focus on the minibus-taxi industry. We have, however, realised that we need to expand to other sectors too. We have what we call Taxi Fridays where a taxi operator can bring his vehicle in for a service and while waiting receive a light meal for free.

“We have dedicated lifts and staff for this purpose. We are also expanding our fleet operations, and for individuals we use the sponsorship of schools and exhibit our products at sports days and other events. Our drive to increase our market share with ranges other than taxis is focused, which is paying off.”

Our parts department is the largest in the Toyota dealer network, I am very proud of the team headed by Pierre Joubert and Jerome van der Merwe. They process over 800 invoices a day, and they run two shifts from 04:00 to 21:30.

Wessel believes that the skewed pricing on used vehicles is busy correcting itself.

“We all know that stock availability on the new side made used stock scarce and expensive. As new vehicles come back onto the showroom floor, they will push more stock into the used market as well and normalise prices. This will offer a great reprieve for dealers and customers.”

Dealerfloor asked Wessel about his very Afrikaans name.

“It is actually a great story. My grandfather emigrated to South Arica from Eswatini and started farming in QwaQwa when it was still a homeland.

“My father took over and partnered with an Afrikaner farmer nearby. It turned into a great friendship, which blossomed to the point that they agreed to give their children names from each other’s cultural heritage.

“I am Wessel and have a brother Paulus Botha Tshabalala. In turn, the Afrikaner farmer gave all his children African names!” says Wessel.

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