Team effort earns Oranje Toyota Bloemfontein top spot

This is not a one-man award, but a team award. Each and every staff member played a role so that we could walk away with the prestigious award as the South Africa’s top Toyota dealer.

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So says Jonathan Stephenson, Dealer Principal at Oranje Toyota in Bloemfontein (part of CFAO Mobility), which was recently named the manufacturer’s Dealer of the Year.

It is also not the first time that such an honour has been bestowed on Jonanthan and Toyota’s network in the City of Roses. In 2019, it was the Lexus dealership that scooped up the Lexus Dealer of the Year award.

“We are humbled and grateful for the recognition. This success is accomplished by a team where everyone knows what is expected of him or her, and everyone is willing to go the extra mile. Customers benefit from this approach, and we are thankful for their unfailing support.

Jonathan Stephenson and his wife, Bernadette, at the awards ceremony.

“The people in and around Bloemfontein and the broader Free State remain our customer base and thanks to our team rendering top notch customer experience, we experienced an above average growth the last year, selling close to 200 more units than in the previous year,” Jonathan tells Dealerfloor.

“I believe in empowering the staff with responsibility to act with greater freedom in decision making and taking responsibility. Managers know what is expected of them and can use initiative to build the business.

“The cross pollination of the different departments and understanding each other’s needs and challenges also go a long way in taking effective action. I cannot thank my line managers enough - Vic Angerer (Workshop Manager), Morne Weldhagen (Sales Manager), Ernst Schlechter (Parts Manager) and Wicus Coetzee (Automark Manager).

Aerial photo of Oranje Toyota in Bloemfontein.

Jonathan says Bloemfontein offers a good mixture of different industries, and the huge agricultural sector is one of the important clients for the brand. “Our Hilux remains popular, and the imminent arrival of a mild hybrid Hilux will further strengthen the range offering to prospective customers.

“We also had a good demand for the Corolla Cross, not only from a value proposition, but the fully hybrid model might outsell the other version in the range in the near future. The fuel price plays an important role in the success of the Cross-hybrid model. The mild hybrid Hilux will be more focused on increasing the get-off-the-mark power of the bakkie, which is important in many of its applications.”

Asked about factors contributing to the slump in new vehicle sales countrywide, Jonathan says he believes at dealership level they should focus on what they can control. “The general economy, loadshedding and other national or even international factors have an effect, but do not determine what we can achieve with what we can offer,” according to him.

“There are enough opportunities out there, even in tough conditions, to grow and prosper. Through our dedication, community involvement and interaction with customers, connected to an excelelent product range, we will continue to shine,” he tells Dealerfloor.

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