Zido Cars’ long road to success

It all started with buying a “cheapie”, fixing it up and reselling it. Most importantly, making a profit.

Zido Cars

This humble beginning in 2002 laid the foundation for the establishment of Zido Cars, a force to be reckoned with in the pre-owned vehicle trade on the East Rand. The business, which today boasts three dealerships, was actually set in motion by a car accident of the owner, Zaahid Hajat, when he was a student.

An accountant by profession today, Zaahid tells Dealerfloor, he was involved in a car accident in his second year at varsity and had to fix his car himself. “My dad gave me the car, but no insurance meant the repair costs were on me.

“I worked extra time in his shop and saw an advertisement for a cheap Golf going for R5 000. Like they say – the rest is history. I continued buying cars, then fixing and sell them. After I fixed them, I put a ‘For Sale’ sign on them and used the car as my transport to and from university. At one stage, I had five cars, selling them on the side of the road close to our home,” Zaahid says.

Zido Cars Benoni

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After two years, he had enough money to pay his dad for the car that he had crashed, but his father told him to keep the money and invest it in what he was doing.

Business progressed well and the first Zido Cars dealership was opened in Apex between Brakpan and Springs in 2005, followed by Kempton Park in 2013 and Benoni in 2018, which also serves as their head office and workshop.

He says Zido Cars Apex looks after the cheaper offerings as well as commercial vehicles, while Zido Cars Kempton Park covers the middle ground, while Zido Cars Benoni is the flagship with vehicles from R300 000 upwards.

Zaahid tells Dealerfloor all three dealerships are off-the-grid and self-sufficient. “We can function in normality during load-shedding and other interruptions. In addition, we put in extra effort playing our part looking after the environment by saving electricity and cutting down on the use of commodities such as paper

Zido Cars Express

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“I am very proud of my wife, Yasmeen, who is a director of Zido Cars. She is also one of the driving forces at the government’s WECONA initiative, which empowers women in business and focuses on women in the automotive industry,” Zaahid tells us.

Zaahid says in 2007 they were involved with the first wave of Chinese manufacturers setting up shop in South Africa and did well with especially the taxi’s from one of the manufactures. “Unfortunately, the Chinese effort in South Africa crashed during 2010 and 2011, and we returned to our roots, namely used cars.

“Today, the Chinese are back, and it is a very different situation from back then. Now there are a variety of good quality products and a solid back-up system through large motoring groups. We are keeping our options open, not only for opportunities with Chinese brands but also others,” he tells Dealerfloor.

Asked about the challenge in the used car sector, Zaahid says various factors have an impact on the business. “First of all, dealers are a business like any other and the downward trend of the economy affects everyone.

“For us there are also specific challenges. The steep prices of advertising platforms make it difficult for many dealerships to showcase their products. Other issues are digital and bank fraud, which cost potential customers a lot of money.

Zido Cars Kempton Park

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“We see fraudsters using dealership names advertising vehicles and getting customers to pay a deposit on-line and then disappear with the money. Every week, we see defrauded customers who have lost anywhere between R10 000 and R100 000, which means a potential buyer is now unable to acquire a vehicle, which has a negative impact on dealers.

“Another problem in the used sector is accident damaged vehicles and mileage tampering. Customers need to take a good look where and what they buy as many of these vehicles are repaired badly.

For the rest, the political landscape and the election will see a number of buyers hanging on till there is more certainty about what the future holds. Interest rates are always a big influencer when making serious financial decisions, and it’s true for new and used cars,” Zaahid says.

But, says Zaahid, notwithstanding this, he is optimistic about the future and that an improvement in economic growth will most definitely see the fortunes change for used and new car dealers in the country.

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