Paul Louw, 40-year-old Dealer Principal of Volkswagen Table View, is a man on a mission – in his professional life as Dealer Principal, but also his private life as husband and father.
Louw, in his first job as Dealer Principal since October 2018, joined Volkswagen Table View in 2011. Shortly before that the team took ownership of their new building in December of that year and this year, he and his wife, Anri, became first-time parents.
“Our daughter, Libby, was born in January. Anri is now a full-time mom, although she works from home as a hairdresser while I run the dealership.”
Louw was born and bred in East London in the Eastern Cape, but his family moved to the Western Cape where he attended Paul Roos Gymnasium and went on to study business economics at Stellenbosch University.
“I found my feet in 2002-2003 after completing my studies and only started working in the automotive industry in 2004. I worked at different dealerships – all Volkswagen – including Volkswagen Table View, where I was appointed to my first position as Dealer Principal two years ago,” says Louw.
Although Louw had a keen interest in golf before his move to Table View, he unfortunately no longer has much time to swing a club. “I own a set of clubs and also a surf board, but there’s no time for that. This is a 6½-day-job and there is very little time left after being a father and a DP. I mostly work from 7 to 7 every weekday, and on Saturdays...”
Louw is excited about the two passions in his life – his family and the dealership. “My wife and I focus on giving Libby the best we can, while at the dealership the team and I have great plans for next year. The National Lockdown put paid to our planned expansion to some extent, but not our growth. When I started here, the dealership sold around 10 new vehicles and 15 used cars a month. We are now closer to 40 new and 45 used. If it hadn’t been for the lockdown, it would have been many more.”
Part of the plan is to expand the Mastercar premises for used cars, as well as the workshop. “We are ready to hit the button, but it will have to wait until around August 2021.”
One of Paul Louw’s biggest challenges for the next few months is to recover momentum and maintain a balance between challenges at work as well as the reality of bringing up a child.
“We don’t have a high turnover in staff. When I joined the dealership, we needed to take a fresh look at our staff complement and some changes were necessary, but we have since settled in and built up a formidable team. Almost all of the staff members, who joined after my arrival, are still part of our team.”
On a personal level, Louw says he and his wife are extremely happy in Table View. “The dealership had its best two months in June and July this year, and I had to put in a lot of extra hours. The challenge is a balance between work and home, especially now with the baby. We are very happy, and we love the sea. The wind was something we had to get used to, though! I have now been here for nine years and having lived here previously, it’s nothing new. I love the community; people here are very genuine.”
Volkswagen Table View is closely involved with the community, including the local radio station ONE FM. “People in Table View respect each other, support each other and underwrite local business. We have a great community – much more intimate than in the north or behind the mountain in the south... Many businesses are moving here. Table View is becoming more of an economic hub for the area and for people living further up the coast. It is a relaxing lifestyle – close to the sea and equally close to the economic hub.”
Looking at the future, Louw says he would like to grow the business much further. “We are looking at doubling our business here. We would like to keep the personal connection, although more and more people shop online. They still enjoy coming down to take a close-up look at their vehicle of choice. I have customers who have been supporting me for the last two decades, and that is something that cannot be replicated online.”
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If a pandemic and stock issues aren’t enough of a challenge, why not add a building project/dealership revamp/moving of facilities and getting a second dealership to full independent dealership status to a DP’s list of tasks.
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