Although the official opening is only in March next year, they are eagerly awaiting the move to their new and unique location that is currently under construction.
“We are really excited to join our fellow Rola dealerships in Rola Motor City in Somerset West,” says Gerhard Olivier, Dealer Principal at Rola Toyota Somerset West. “Although our new destination is a mere five kilometres away from where we are situated now, the changes and advantages will be massive.
“Not only does the new location offer much better access roads, space and a less stressful traffic situation, but the new dealership will be totally unique. We will be situated next to the R102 with two routes to get to us, either from the N2 or the R44 to the R102.
“The uniqueness lies in the fact the new dealership will be modelled on the Toyota logo that consists of three ellipses. From the outside the building will have the round shape of the outside ring of the logo with the showroom inside.
“Once inside the second and vertical ellipse will be seen in the shape and layout of the floor tiling and the bulkhead in the roof construction, also seen from the inside of the dealership. We are grateful that Toyota allowed us the freedom to do it this way. The rest of the CI specs will be as required by Toyota in terms of the current corporate identity,” Gerhard tells Dealerfloor.
He says the ease of access to the new location and the fact that they are closer to Stellenbosch and Kuils River will also benefit them in terms of attracting more customers. “We will now be on the same property as the rest of the Rola dealerships but will be separate, only sharing a wash bay with the other brands.”
Rola Motor City consists of a Mercedes-Benz and FCA (Fiat, Jeep and Alfa), as a unit and then a multi-franchise set-up with Volvo, Honda, Mahindra, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota added to the list next year when they move from the Strand.
Gerhard says they have taken the official Toyota philosophy of “Best in Town” to a next level at their dealership by adding “Your favourite” strategy to it. “In all aspects of our business we strive to be the best and to create an exceptional guest experience. Not only do we want to be Your Favourite, but we want the customers to know they are our favourite too. From little things like preparing the best cappuccino in town to making an effort to be Your Favourite in all aspects of the business is our mission.”
Getting back to the obstacles for the motor retail industry, the last couple of years, Gerhard says they in fact came back stronger over the last two years than before that. “We are fortunate that a fair amount of our business consists of the imported ranges. This meant we could still do a decent amount of business when the plant in Durban was closed owing to the flooding.
“Our higher than average sales volumes in the last month or two also contributed to the stock flowing again from the Durban plant after it reopened recently and is now working through the backlog. Our customer base is a broad one of which the agricultural sector is relatively small. We have a healthy mix of urban customers, small fleet owners and a good number of private and business customers.
“During the difficult times of COVID, our owners stood by us, and we are very grateful for their assistance and leadership. The team working here at Toyota is motivated and knows what our expectations are. Without a team effort we would not be so successful,” Gerhard tells us.
Asked if his mechanical engineering background plays an important part as DP, Gerhard says he definitely believes so as his insight into technical issues helps him to understand and resolve problems quicker.
“I joined the retail environment years ago, but over the years the sales side of the business also became second nature to me. I was a bursary holder with Nissan SA and later joined Toyota SA for a period of 13 years.” During 2008, Gerhard joined the Rola Group and spent the years many of their Brands before becoming part of Rola Toyota six years ago.
And what about the future with all the uncertainty, not only locally but on an international level? “Predictions are difficult. I plan and prepare for the future, live and organise for the now and do it to the best of my ability,” Gerhard concludes.
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