Years of experience his road to success

Since 1996, Mike Pieterse has been fighting the good fight in Kuruman in the Northern Cape at the helm of M&I Motors in this isolated part of the country.

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Mike bought the business from its previous owner who started the dealership as far back as 1976. Renamed to M&I (M for Mike and I for his late wife, Ivy) in 1996, the used car dealership grew consistently and three years ago also added a new brand, the Chinse manufacturer, JAC.

Still doing business from the original premises, Mike tells Dealerfloor they are currently looking at a new property, with a better location and facilities as well as adding another new brand to their portfolio.

“All of this is still at an early stage and nothing is set in stone yet. Currently, we are adapting our workshop to a full-fledged one for JAC as well as AA-approved vehicles. “With the current economic situation and the prices of new vehicles, the used car market plays a very important part in the mobility of people in our region.

Mike Pieterse, owner and DP at M&I Motors.

“Although we sell used vehicles across a wide spectrum, price, model range, a spare key and service history all play an important role when we buy or sell used vehicles. With the AA coming on board and their 125-point checklist, it gives customers as well as me peace of mind,” Mike tells us.

Customers are getting more selective in their choice of vehicles as a used car now has to fulfil the role of what a new vehicle had to do for them in the past. Also, buyers are spoilt for choice today and in some cases once they receive bank approval for a transaction, they will start shopping around for even better or other deals.

He says the effect of bad service delivery regarding water and electricity with load-shedding is hampering business in more ways than one can anticipate. “Owing to the high cost of getting off the grid or at least partially, some potential buyers will postpone replacing their vehicles. They will, instead, use the money and rather install solar and or drill a borehole at their homes.”

Entrance of the dealership.

Mike tells Dealerfloor these factors did not influence business in the past as much as today and adds that the financial hardship customers have to deal with, owing to a declining economy, poor service delivery and social economic circumstances unique to certain areas like Kuruman business condition have become extremely tough.

“I am, however, optimistic about the future. Notwithstanding the issues mentioned and other factors like a high crime rate, the expansion of mines in the region brings certain advantages,” he says. With the two major centres, Kimberley and Upington, roughly 250 km from Kuruman, they have to adapt and deal with a number of issues themselves to survive.

He is glad about a number of manufacturers with value propositions and the necessary back-up coming into South Africa, mainly from China, as customers find it difficult to keep up with the more established brands in terms of price.

M&I in Kuruman.

“On the JAC side, our new T9 bakkie has just landed here, and we look forward to the arrival of a SUV and single cab versions of T series bakkies that will give us more manoeuvring space in different sectors of the market. Our commercial vehicles, like the smaller 1.5 ton workhorse and the bigger delivery vehicles of up to 6 tons, are also gaining more traction here,” Mike concludes.

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