The rise in living expenses in South Africa owing to, amongst others, load shedding and not a hike in retail prices, will put pressure on potential buyers of passenger and light commercial vehicles in the first half of 2023.
This is the opinion of Kelston Chery East London Dealer Principal, Robert Campbell. He believes the cost of living is becoming a real issue as the traditional middle-class market was being weighed down by the ever-increasing financial pressures.
“As consumers shop around to get more bang for their buck, I feel value for money would become decisive in attracting the attention of new consumers. Despite the bleak outlook, the state of the economy in fact presented the perfect opportunity for dealerships to prosper,” Robert says.
“It puts the onus on the industry to present a product at an affordable price point without compromising on its features or quality. Brands can now be positioned as the perfect value-for-money product.”
Therefore, he says, Chery’s strategy was to offer great cars packed full of features with a service and warranty plan to back it all up – and all of it at a very attractive price point.
Robert says happy customers go hand-in-hand with value and that it is therefore imperative for dealerships to offer them a premium service to boot.
“This must happen from sales all the way through to parts and service. We must aim to gain the trust of the public and we must aim to become one of the top-performing Chery dealers in the group,” he says about their dealership in the Eastern Cape city.
He took up his post in January and immediately started looking for ways to make the delivery process “something special” to get customers to talk about the service they have experienced. Another interesting angle is that Robert is making it his mission to be personally introduced to every customer who takes delivery of a vehicle.
“By building relationships with customers and the community at large I know we can extend the Kelston footprint in the region. Customer relations are key to a successful dealership. We are able to deliver nationwide, but our focus with Chery is to become the dominant dealer in our area first,” he says.
Given what he felt could be a volatile market, Robert says it was difficult to gauge sales for the first half of the year. “No one has a crystal ball. I think the most important factor is to concentrate on what we can control. If we put the effort into these things, we can achieve our goals.”
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