Passion, dedication put them in the top spot

Winning the first Stellantis overall Dealer of the Year award is more than just a pat on the back for a job well done. It is recognition for a very dedicated team effort during tough business conditions to come out as the top dealership.

23 Stel Dean SMH1

So says Dean Shekleton, Dealer Principal and co-owner of SMH Sandton in Bryanston, selling Fiat, Jeep, Abarth and Alfa Romeo. Negotiations are currently underway looking at the possibility of adding the other Stellantis brands – Peugeot, Citroën and Opel – to their portfolio.

Not only did the dealership win the overall Dealer of the Year award in Stellantis’s first prize-giving, but it also won the different categories. SMH Sandton took the honours as Sales Dealer of the Year, Service Dealer of the Year, Fiat Dealer of the Year as well as the number one Dealer of the Year in the large category, which put them on the first podium place as the Stellantis Dealer of the Year for 2022.

A proud moment for the team at SMH Sandton holding all the accolades they won.

Dean tells Dealerfloor they were ecstatic to walk away the major title as they really put in a huge effort to reach their goals. “We all know what is expected of us, and we are all passionate about the brands we represent. Our dealership and I have been involved with these brands from 2018.

“I don’t believe in micro-managing, and I trust my managers. We take joint decisions, and they are part of every process to make the business successful. Touchpoints with customers, no matter how small, are very important to us. From a friendly greeting on entering our premises to top-notch quality service in every department are paramount.

As a trained mechanic himself, Dean says he knows the importance of every aspect of the business and the role the After-Sales Department plays in the success of a dealership.

The sales team at SMH Sandton celebrating the number one position.

“The first vehicle might be sold through your Sales Department, but the second and third come from the after-sales experience enjoyed by the customer. Customer retention and getting existing customers back for repairs and servicing played a major role during the difficult time in the aftermath of the pandemic when new vehicle stocks were limited.

“Currently, the forecast for stock availability for 2023 looks very good. We have always been a hugely popular Fiat dealership in this area as parents love to buy Fiat 500’s for the kids as their first car. In a good month, providing we have stock, we can move up to between 15 and 20 Fiats a month.

SMH Sandton winners at the Stellantis awards ceremony - Sarel Ras (Service Manager), Wayne Tennant (Sales Manager), Justin Capazario (Parts Manager), Dean Shekleton (Dealer Principal) and Leslie Ramsoomar (Stellantis South Africa).

“On the Jeep side, the Wrangler basically sells itself as it is one of the preferred lifestyle vehicles on the market. With the new Grand Cherokee and Gladiator added to the range last year, we have a strong offering in this segment. We have a healthy new stock forecast for 2023 and with new models added to the Alfa Romeo and Jeep ranges, we will have an even firmer footing with these brands.”

Dean says getting to the top is one thing, but staying there is another. “We have worked hard to be the best, and we will work even harder to stay in the top spot. With Stellantis working tirelessly to assist and put everything into place for dealerships, I am very optimistic about the future,” Dean says.

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