Tackling challenges head-on with a positive attitude

Even the latest crisis in the motor industry, and more specific for Toyota with the factory in Durban having been flooded, will not keep us down. We will tackle the problem with same ferocity we did during the COVID period and overcome any obstacle.

Toy Secunda1

So says Chris Morgenrood, Dealer Principal at the award-winning Secunda Toyota about the temporary set-back after the flood disaster that hit KwaZulu-Natal and the flooding of the manufacturer’s plant in the province.

Secunda Toyota recently walked away with the top honours in the Category for Independent Dealerships in the 2021 MSX/NADA Business of the Year (BOTY) Awards.

“We are extremely proud of the award, which means a lot for us as an independent and stand-alone, dealership. The last year was not easy with abnormal business conditions owing to stock shortages worldwide. We stayed focused on our goals, and the positive attitude of our hard-working team played a major role in the dealership clinching the prestigious title.

Chris Morgenrood, DP at Secunda Toyota.

“With an even longer delay now in the supply of certain models owing to the flooding, we will tackle the challenge with the same positive mindset. I have huge admiration for how Toyota South Africa handled the disaster and kept us informed about the situation.

“I don’t want to be with any other manufacturer during a crisis like this as the effort made by them in getting the situation back to normal, is second to none. In the meantime, there are a number of other imported Toyota products not affected by the flooding of the factory,” Chris tells Dealerfloor.

Getting back to the award, Chris says although the dealership has won numerous awards in the past, it is the first time it can add this prestigious award to the dealership’s collection. “The dealership has always done great, and this is the cherry on top of the cake for running a well-balanced business with renewed focus.

Managers at the award-winning dealership are Victor Maseko (Automark Manager), Hennie Kruger (owner of the dealership), Chris Morgenrood (DP), Clement Zimba (Parts Manager) and Wayne Meyer (Workshop Manager).

“In Secunda, we are fortunate to have a variety of customers from Sasol, the different coal mines, a strong farming community and individual buyers. The majority of our business is done in our area of responsibility that ensures customers for life with repeat business and in terms of the after-sales department. Our primary business is conducted in an area within a radius of roughly 75 km around us before getting to other Toyota dealerships,” he says.

Asked about doing business as a “only” dealership not being part of any other dealerships or a group, Chris says doing business independently is even, in today’s circumstances, not much different than it is for a dealership as part of a larger group. “The challenges remain the same, and pros and cons cancel each other out.

“Our business is well balanced, not only in terms of our diverse customer base, but also in the business itself with all aspects, from vehicle sales to the after-sales that are doing well, meeting targets and driven by a team focused on what needs to be done.

“The secret of a successful dealership lies in its staff being trained, motivated, positive and having all the necessary systems in place to handle all eventualities. We must also be able to adapt the way we conduct business in light of challenges that arise, like now with the flooding of the plant in Durban,” Chris says.

Secunda Toyota.

And what about the future? “In the long term, we might look at increasing our Hino division to keep up with developments in the industry sector. In the short term, we have to stay focused on what we do now, adapting to any changes and ensuring our customers remain our number one priority,” he reckons.

Secunda Toyota belongs to the Kruger family. As DP, Chris attends to the operational side of the Business with Hennie and Michael Kruger taking care of the financial aspects. Chris was appointed as DP in April last year, but he has a career spanning more than 20 years at different Toyota dealerships.

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