Karl Dahl on MSX NADA 2019 Business of the Year Award

A visit to Paarl to interview a local Dealer Principal turned into an eye-opening information session that deserves a biography, let alone a straight-forward news feature.

Karl Dahl Dealer Principal of BMW Paarlberg


BMW Paarlberg received the Most Improved Performance Group Member Award, which was presented by Bryan Habana. This category measured and awards continuous improvement on a dealer’s return on assets

At the ceremony, which looked little different this year as winners were announced virtually in an awards ceremony hosted recently via Zoom, Gary McCraw, Director of the National Automobie Dealers’ Association (NADA), emphasised the unique circumstances: “No matter what challenges are thrown our way and how insurmountable they appear to be, one must take stock and find innovative ways to address issues head on,” he said in congratulating the winners.

The BOTY Awards are the only independent validation of dealership profitability in South Africa and take into account all levels of a business to determine its score.

BMW Paarlberg took the overall laurels in this, the 22nd year of the MSX NADA Business of the Year Awards.

Karl Dahl, Dealer Principal and majority owner of the independent BMW franchise, learned the business right from the horse’s mouth – he worked at BMW South Africa for eight years and finished as national marketing executive and distribution manager.

“I bought the business from the previous owner, also Karl – Karl Redelinghuys – when he retired in the 1980s. I joined MSX, a leading provider of technology-enabled business process outsourcing (BPO) services to OEMs in more than 80 countries,” explains Dahl.

MSX International (MSX) measures the financial performance of over 1 000 South African franchised dealers, and the awards recognise the top performers across five categories. This year’s BOTY finalists included dealerships from every corner of South Africa – from Polokwane to Cape Town and Pongola to Rustenburg.

“We have been part of MSX for 37 years,” says Dahl, explaining BMW Paarlberg scored the best improvement in all of the categories in the mass market division as well as for the luxury market, making it the overall winner.

“This helps us to compare ourselves with the market, not other BMW dealers. It includes other luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, Volvo, Land Rover and others.”

Athol Quin, MSX International director for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, says a BOTY winner demonstrates exceptional achievement. “Dealerships are complex businesses requiring enormous attention to detail and a concerted effort to improve the customer experience. They operate in a highly competitive environment and generally don’t tick the ‘easy to manage’ business boxes such as high margins, simple inventory and low fixed costs.”

But, as Dahl explains, to be the best is no easy feat: “The award is a big motivation for everyone involved as it is not focused on just one aspect of the dealership – it looks at the whole dealership; everybody knows they all played their part, and it was a big team effort. It tells me we are all singing off the same song sheet.”

The nominees in this category were Paarlberg BMW, Imperial Toyota Kempton Park and Nelspruit Honda & Suzuki.

Most Improved Performance Group Member Of The Year award in this year's MSX NADA BOTY Awards went to BMW Paarlberg. From left: Eugene Morkel (Parts Manager), Mark Kokoropo (Corporate Sales Manager), Sonja Rheeder (Financial Manager), Simonne Dahl (General Sales Manager), O’Brien Patience (Workshop Manager).

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