Location, location, location. This well-known phrase was coined by a British land developer and real estate mogul many decades ago.
In Bloemfontein, these three words still hold true for the used car division of Oranje Toyota, part of CFAO Motors SA Group, with the opening of a third dealership or floor as they call it, for used vehicles.
Oranje Toyota moved to a new location in Langenhoven Park, in a newly developed part of the city, quite recently, including its used-car franchise, Automark.
To keep a presence and footprint at their previous home in Bloemfontein’s famous Church Street area in the central and older part of the city, they opened a used-car dealership about 18 months ago, called Autoteam. In this part of Bloemfontein, there are still several new vehicle dealerships and a huge hub of used-car dealerships.
To fit in with the many non-franchise used-car dealerships and specialising in older, cheaper and higher mileage vehicles, no official Toyota branding was done with the Autoteam dealership. Notwithstanding this, used Toyotas were still the main attraction at the Autoteam dealership.
“We are not playing in the cheapie market,” says Jacques Cloete, Sales Manager at Oranje Toyota’s Automark division. “With the Autoteam brand, we satisfy the transport needs of people who are not in the market for the more upmarket and more expensive used vehicles.”
Now we will be opening a second Automark dealership next to our Autoteam premises just like the one at Oranje Toyota in Langenhoven Park. This will give more people in this part of the city access to a bigger variety of used vehicles with the well-established reputation of AutoMark that will surely rub off on Autoteam,” Jacques tells Dealerfloor. Autoteam in Bloemfontein is just one of two similar dealerships in the country, with the other one on the East Rand in Gauteng.
But how is business so far in the important used car segment?
“With the opening on November the 2nd of the Automark branch in Church Street, we aim to move 100 used vehicles by December this year through all three our used-car dealerships. We basically got the business up and running again during May because of the lockdown regulations. In June we sold 66 vehicles, 72 in July, 75 in August and 76 in September. I believe we will sell about 80 during October and aim for 100 towards year-end,” Jacques says.
Currently, the company stocks around 160 vehicles between the three dealerships with a combined staff of 19 people, including the sale teams at the three dealerships, F&Is, admin personnel and three drivers.
Asked about repairs and servicing, Jacques says everything is done at their recon centre at Oranje Toyota in Langenhoven Park and from there the vehicles are allocated to the three dealerships.
He says at the Autoteam dealership for the less expensive and older vehicles, financing, extended warranties and all the other related aspects or services are available across the spectrum of all their used vehicles.
Asked about what vehicles are popular on the used-market side, it came as no surprise that Toyota’s own Hilux and Fortuner are very much sought after as well as different models in the Volkswagen Polo range, to mention only a few.
“The Autoteam experience really surprised us with its popularity and adding Automark next to it will most certainly make Toyota’s presence felt in a big way in this traditional car enclave in Bloemfontein,” Jacques tells Dealerfloor.
Human Auto is not only a landmark in the Free State and Northern Cape, but it’s a familiar name to many businesses throughout South Africa.
The expansion of the Stellantis dealer network continues, with the latest addition being the new Reeds Bellville facility in the Western Cape for Jeep, Fiat and Fiat Professional.
Like many other towns, the growing town of Rustenburg has seen its economy take a hit with the COVID-19 pandemic.