Business conditions in the motor retail industry are difficult, but with the right people in your team, good leadership and a solid customer base, you can meet challenges head on.
So says Terence Jenkins, Dealer Principal at NTT Toyota Hazyview, about doing business in the Mpumalanga Lowveld, on the doorstep of the Kruger Park. He was appointed DP in 2016 after a few years with NTT Toyota in Barberton.
NTT Hazyview won the Toyota President's Award in 2019, one of the highest honours from Toyota for commitment to maintaining Toyota's high standards. In 2016, the dealership also won the Toyota Financial Services Award in its category,
“Our biggest challenge currently remains the low stock levels. This is a worldwide phenomenon cutting across countries and brands. Indications are that the situation will probably not worsen and will hopefully start recovering in the coming months and year.
“However, the situation remains unpredictable, and we have adapted our business model accordingly. We set stringent daily goals that must be met. We evaluate the achieving of these goals every day. This created a sense of urgency in our everyday tasks. It upped productivity and efficiency and prepared us for any challenges that might come our way.
“It is important for us to focus on what we can do immediately and do it to best of our ability in all aspects of the business. We are fortunate that since the hard lockdown in 2020, our recovery rate is strong and with some areas exceeding pre-COVID levels,” Terence tells Dealerfloor.
Terence says their area of responsibility includes a part of the province with many inhabitants but not necessary a high monthly income level. “Our area stretches in a 30 km radius around Hazyview with towns like Bushbuckridge, Graskop, Thulumahashe and Sabie, from where the dealership was relocated to Hazyview in 2014. We border on bigger towns like Mbombela, Witrivier and Lydenburg with their own dealerships.
“By far the largest part of our business is done in our area, which is good for retaining our customer base for services, repairs and repeat business in the long run. Our workshop is busy, and I am satisfied with its current output, but we are always looking to expand capacity in this area,” he says.
Asked about the business conditions in Hazyview and the surrounding towns, Terence tells Dealerfloor that agriculture is a serious economic driver in the region. “There is a strong farming community that produces citrus products, with bananas, avocados and a growing macadamia industry in this part of the world.
“Bakkies are extremely popular as well as SUVs. The new Toyota Urban Cruiser is doing very well, and we are simply hampered by limited stock of this vehicle. We look forward to the introduction of the Corolla Cross, a locally produced crossover vehicle, which in terms of price, features and the raised ground clearance will resonate well with buyers in our area.
“I am positive about the future and believe we will overcome every obstacle we have encountered since 2020. I believe things can only improve, and I am excited about what the future holds,” Terence concludes.
Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA) kept the wheels rolling this year with the opening of five new dealerships in four provinces.
The latest addition to the Stellantis dealer network is a large, new Super Group multi-franchise facility in Jacaranda Street, Hennopspark, Centurion, for Jeep, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot and Citroën.
We can overcome all the hurdles placed in front of us if we recognise our biggest asset in business is our people, says Rob Downs the Dealer Principal at CMH Nissan and Mitsubishi Pinetown.