The name Park Motors has been around for almost 37 years. It is not only a familiar name within the motor industry but also well-known to customers across the country. Dealerfloor chatted with Mark Parodi, a Group Director and the Dealer Principal at Park Motors BMW in Welkom.
1: Your group is known for its family tradition and you for your love of fast cars. Tell us a little bit more about your history and your road to where you and the Park Motor Group are today.
The Park Motors Group was started in 1983, with dealerships in Vereeniging, Sasolburg, Vanderbijlpark, Klerksdorp, Industria JHB, Durban and only much later in Welkom.
Its founding members were Davide Parodi, Mac van der Merwe and Dries van Zyl.
Numerous brands have been associated with Park Motors over the year. They included Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Mazda, Ford, Land Rover, BMW, Caltex, Total and Engen.
Today only the Parodi family remain with the Park Motors brand. I am proud to say with the help of our experienced staff we have won many accolades with all involved brands over the years.
2: What is your passion and what other hobbies or sport do you do when not involved with cars?
Motorsport and aviation, basically passed down to me from my father. The aviation side of the family started with my grandfather who was a pilot in WWII. From the motorsport side, my father competed with racing Renaults at the time. When I was younger I raced single seaters and competed in saloon car racing.
3: Do you only sell BMW’s in Welkom and what other dealerships do you have?
In Welkom we sell motorcycles at Park Adventure, we handle BMW new and approved used vehicle sales, we have a Total fuel station and a Fiat approved repair workshop.
Our workshop is open to repairs of all make of vehicles. Today we still have dealerships in the Vaal Triangle and a Total petrol station.
4: How is business going in these strange circumstances?
COVID-19 has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons. It is time to think out of the box and pursue every available avenue. It’s really a question of adapt or die. I believe it is time to reconcile and consolidate business.
5: BMW is a premium brand. Is the demand for the more luxurious and top end getting back to where they were?
Our leaders in South Africa need to wake up and put the country first for business to recover to anywhere near where we were in the past. To say business was good before the pandemic and lockdown hit, would also be untrue.
6: Is it more difficult to conclude a sale these days?
Selling is tough! I have a fantastic team and there are days where they get home after eight at night because they were busy doing deals. Keep in mind that 70% of our sales are outside of Welkom. It requires a lot of time behind the steering wheel. Deals don’t come to you, you have to go find them.
7: What are your views on financing and credit worthiness these days?
Financing in today’s environment is a huge obstacle. Our middle class is much smaller. Living costs are high, many are on the back foot after the hard lockdown.
8: To get back to the BMWs, what models are the most popular currently and why?
The BMW X3 2.0D is our most popular new BMW. It is a fantastic SUV for the family, and extremely fuel efficient for a 4x4. It can also handle the potholes with ease. Power delivery is excellent from the 2.0D engine. I must say the X3 is a bulletproof vehicle.
9: What kind of vehicles are the most popular of all the cars you are selling?
Most SUVs and double cab pick-ups sell well by us, due to our road conditions. Especially those from Toyota and Ford.
10: Are there any plan to expand the dealerships?
Not at this stage, we will maintain and upgrade existing business, keeping our eye on leadership in our country to prove themselves, not to just mislead citizens with empty promises. Take responsibility, follow through and then get the investment.
11: How business doing on the used car side?
Used car sales have overtaken new car sales and become the backbone of the dealerships in South Africa.
It does not take long to realise that the person on the other side of the telephone is a remarkable woman, someone who knows the motor trade by heart and defiantly not a pushover.
There is no substitute for hard work with passion, doing the things you love.
As the most awarded Volvo dealership in South Africa, TCM is the current South African Volvo Car Dealer of The Year as well as Service Dealer of the Year. Their secret? Making sure their focus is on their people.