The recovery in the demand for new vehicles after the initial lockdown scare, is surprisingly good, especially in Rustenburg.
So says Tewie Wessels, Dealer Principal at Leons Ford and Leons Mazda, in the North West mining hub of Rustenburg.
“I was surprised at the strong comeback of the motor retail business here, and although challenges persist, we are thankful and ready for the future. The demand for platinum has been stable and the city has weathered the COVID storm better than some places elsewhere in the country.
“The problems currently are the same for everyone with stock shortages that lead to demands for certain models in line-ups that are very scarce to come by. We are a bit worried about the ongoing supply of the locally produced and extremely popular Ranger with the temporary closure of the plant for expansion purposes. We try to stockpile and hope for the best,” he says.
On the Mazda side, Tewie says the group is looking forward to the arrival of the new BT-50 soon and have high expectations for the new bakkie. He says Mazda is doing very well and they sell whatever Mazda products they can get. “Mazda has really earned its current success with great and reliable products.”
Asked about the used car sections, Tewie tells Dealerfloor it is a very dynamic business with the current short supply of new vehicles. “This situation unfortunately also has a negative effect in so far as the availability and prices of used cars as concerned, but there is a keen interest from buyers on the used side.”
The Leons dealerships consist of Ford, Mazda, Jaguar Land Rover and Auto Baltic Volvo and are all part of the Super Group. The four dealerships were together in the Rustenburg Mall from 2002 until 2018 when they relocated to the new premises where they are currently situated.
The Ford, Mazda and Jaguar Land Rover dealerships share one premises in one building but are separate from Volvo, which is just across the road. All the dealerships are up to the latest CI specs of the different manufacturers in brand new and modern buildings.
Tewie says the Ford and Mazda dealerships are run separately and only the backroom admin is a shared service.
“Our Ford dealership is a Category B (the second largest category) in terms of sales, while our workshop and parts department are classified as a Category A, the largest. The Ford dealership has in the past won the Super Group’s Dealer of the Year awards numerous times. Currently the F&I, Charlene Olivier, won her category for three years in a row since 2018 from Ford.”
Tewie tells Dealerfloor that Leons was named after Leon Wolpe, the first owner, who started with Leons Chrysler in 1972 and later also Sprite Caravans and Honda and Kawasaki motorcycles. Mazda was added to the portfolio in 1975, and in 1994 At van Wyk became a director of Leons and eventually bought the business .
Later Volvo, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover were added and in the mid 2000s, the Super Group bought Leons.
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.