The only stand-alone MINI dealership in South Africa once again showed why it is considered the jewel in the MINI crown by winning the Retailer of the Year award at the recently held BMW Group awards ceremony.
This flagship MINI dealership, known as SMG Rocks MINI in the heart of Umhlanga, north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, is not a newcomer to winning prestigious accolades. The dealership has won this much sought-aftertitle four time before – during 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Not only did SMG Rocks MINI in Umhlanga scoop up the Retailer of the Year title, but it also walked away with the trophies for the Financial Dealer of the Year (Manager - Suey Callakoppen) and Aftersales Dealer (Manager – Deon Ramlakan) at this year’s awards ceremony.
“It takes a team effort second to none to achieve this remarkable feat. The positivity of our staff during these challenging times, especially for us here in KwaZulu-Natal, makes this award so much more rewarding,” says Ian Greig, Dealer Principal at SMG Rocks MINI.
The MINI dealership is part of the independent SMG business with a number of BMW and MINI dealerships as well as other brands throughout the country. It is owned by the McCarthy family, and the name SMG originated from its founder, Sean McCarthy (Group).
Ian has been part of SMG in different capacities first at one of the BMW dealerships, where his career started in 2007 and later as Sales Manager, as DP at SMG Rocks MINI since the beginning of this year, where he took over the reins from Patrick McCarthy, son of the founder, who now fulfils a new role within the group.
“Last year’s unrest in our province and the recent flood disaster exacerbate the already strenuous business conditions in the aftermath of the pandemic, with stock shortages being the most prevalent.
“Although we were spared any harm and damage during the unrest and the flood, it put pressure on trading conditions. The infrastructure damage caused was of a serious nature, but in our area, we managed it a bit better.
Asked about the normalisation of stock supply, Ian says it remains difficult, but manageable with supply at around 70% of what it normally is. “We get by and as is common knowledge, selling fewer new vehicles has a negative impact on the used car side. It is tricky, but nevertheless we run our operation very efficiently and successfully as is attested by the award.”
Ian says especially the MINI Countryman is quite popular with their customers. “It’s SUV character and bigger interior are positive attributes for owners in a market that is leaning more and more towards the SUV side these days.
“Although the uptake on electric MINIs is not so high in KZN as in other major centres like Johannesburg or Cape Town, it is picking up and will become more important in the near future. At SMG Rocks MINI we are ready for this growth,” he says.
Ian tells Dealerfloor that customer care is a pillar of their success story. “We have a drop-off and pick-up system to assist customers at our After-sales department and a first-class reputation in this regard where we service up to 15 vehicles a day.
Ian concludes that their aim is to make sure that their customers come first and that they continue winning top awards. “We thank all our customers for their support and loyalty as these awards would not have been achieved without them.”
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