Notwithstanding the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to all sectors of the economy, one dealership can boast that its sales are already getting close to its average for the last seven years.
Not a small feat taking into account that normality in the retail sector is still far from being normal.
The dealership in question is Mahindra Bloemfontein, one of the biggest Mahindra dealers in South Africa and also one of the oldest as it was established in 2004 when the Indian manufacturer first opened its doors in South Africa.
Jaco Swart, Dealer Principal, says Mahindra in Bloemfontein sells all the company’s products, from vehicles, generators and tractors to earth-moving equipment. Since its inception, Mahindra Bloemfontein has sold more than 3 000 vehicles.
“During the lockdown, we provided emergency assistance to clients on a 24-hour basis. Even potential new clients were assisted telephonically. Today, financing is an issue because people’s credit records are currently being closely scrutinised.
“Getting instalment payments back on track is the only sure way to repair confidence in your credit record, and we will go out of our way to assist buyers, says Jaco, who has been with Mahindra Bloemfontein for the past seven years.
Mahindra Bloemfontein won numerous awards over the last eight years and always finishes among the top three Mahindra dealers in South Africa. The dealership was the number one dealer in the Mahindra family from 2013 up to 2017 and took second places in 2018 and 2019.
Mahindra Bloemfontein is still owned by its original owner, Ferdi Smith senior. It is part of the Smith Auto Group with three owners and directors, Ferdie Smith junior, Fjay Smith and Marisca Morrison, all three of them the children of Ferdie Smith senior.
The team consists of seven sales executives, a finance and insurance executive, two technical personnel, two service advisers, two administrative ladies, one service manager, one driver, four cleaners and the dealer principal.
The Smith Auto Group owns Mahindra, Honda, Haval, GWM, Peugeot and Citroën, as well as BAW and BAIC. The group will soon move all its franchises to a new home opposite the Technicon and Park Road Police Station with enough safe parking and facilities for all clients. Mahindra in Bethlehem is the SAG’s latest acquisition.
Managing a dealership as well as a satellite dealership in another province is not an easy task, but this is exactly what Jose Menezes has been doing since August last year.
Volvo Trucks South Africa has opened a new R130 million dealership facility in Durban to support the growth of the brand’s vehicle parc in the region.
Servicing and maintaining a vehicle are necessary but can often be viewed as a grudge purchase.