Maemo Motors in Rustenburg is now a fully fledged four-brand dealership with Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, Mitsubishi and the recently acquired Kia, all under one roof.
Byron Stephenson, Dealer Principal at Maemo Motors, which is part of the Cargo division of the Motus group, says there was enough space to accommodate Kia on the same premises and save on expensive building costs. He also shared a rumour that hinted at the prospect of adding another new brand next year.
“We now have new Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, Mitsubishi and Kia, as well as Mercedes-Benz Pre-owned and Cargo Pre-owned on the revamped premises,” says Byron.
Asked about the addition of Kia to their portfolio, he says the Korean manufacturer is a perfect fit for their range of premium offerings. “Kia is a brand with outstanding quality as reflected in the international JD Power surveys, which the brand has won six years in a row. The Kia range supplements our existing offerings, and we are glad to have them as part of our business and as a business partner.
“Our vision is to make the buying and servicing process as simple as possible, and by having four top class brands, which diversify exponentially not only by way of application but more importantly in price, so we can help a customer to shop once. On the Jeep side, we are excited about the future with new vehicles coming our way and a fresh approach in terms of managing the brand from the OEM’s perspective.
“Kia has a fantastic variety of products and new ones that will be launched next year. With all four brands there are constant upgrades and new models coming, like the new Mercedes Benz GLB just launched and the upgraded Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. Having such great business partners and new models in the pipeline, we can keep existing customers and potential buyers happy and interested,” Byron tells Dealerfloor.
He says in this challenging time for business a multi-franchise dealership benefits from being together on one premises. “It eliminates a lot of overheads that are now shared. Although elements like our workshop are under one roof, there is a distinction and division per brand making sure that brand-specific qualified technicians work only on their brand. Our sales teams are also dedicated to their specific brand with very little cross selling.”
Dealerfloor asked him about business conditions in a town where mining is such an important economic driver. Byron says although it is true, several other activities contribute to the economy. “We do a lot of business in the surrounding areas of Rustenburg, and as we are within reach of Johannesburg, we get a share of business from the bigger centre. However, the family of Rustenburg remains our core business.
“In the digital age, doing business all over the country becomes the norm. You need to be on top of this digital element as there has been a decisive shift away from people only buying in their hometown, the customer now searches harder for the “Best Deal”, even local buyers will do digital research first and this we can see in the slowdown of walk-in customers. Notwithstanding that, you must be ready to receive the customer in the most professional manner when he or she comes to the showroom to get the ball rolling or to collect their purchases.
Byron says the last five months showed good improvement, following the long lockdown period and the difficult circumstances. “Yes, the sale of new vehicles is still not where it could be and this is where having such great business partners becomes key; they are constantly tailoring financial packages on all the vehicles to help our clients afford their new vehicles more comfortably.”
And in his spare time?
“I am an avid golfer and involved with golf clubs, sponsorships and golfing events. It is good for business. I do a lot of networking and direct business on and off the golf course,” Byron says.
Despite the severe drought in large parts of the Karoo, the motor business in Graaff-Reinet is stepping up with more brands being represented in this part of the world.
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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