In the Golden Gate heartland of the Eastern Free State, is another golden jewel in the form of Morgan Nissan Bethlehem. This dealership was recently awarded ABSA’s Golden Partner status, the first time ever that the dealership has achieved this great feat. The Bethlehem dealership is part of the Morgan Nissan Group.
Dealerfloor spoke to Dicky Roux, Dealer Principal of the dealership, which sells Nissan, Datsun and UD Trucks, to understand the heartbeat of their business in the rural and scenic Eastern Free State.
“Morgan Nissan took over the dealership in 2011 and two years later I joined the dealership here in Bethlehem. This was Morgan Nissan’s second dealership and today they boast eight Nissan dealerships throughout South Africa,” Dicky told Dealerfloor.
He says although distances are not that major, there are a lot of customers in Harrismith (about a 100 kilos away from Bethlehem) who in some instances brought challenges. Because of this, they have opened-up a Nissan Dealership in Harrismith in the beginning of this year that is assisted by the Bethlehem Dealership.
Regarding the question of the influence of the COVID-10 pandemic on business and on the other hand the positive outlook in the agricultural sector, Dicky says difficult decisions had to be made during the pandemic.
“We had to look at cost-cutting measures because of the uncertainty of the future. And yes, we have also been blessed and people made sacrifices without thinking twice so that we could be in a position to move forward. We depend heavily on the agricultural sector and in our area, there is good growth with a favourable outlook in this sector,” he says.
Regarding Nissan’s mainly SUV and bakkie products with fewer ordinary passenger cars, Dicky says this fact works to their advantage in a place like Bethlehem and the surrounding areas. “Our district is very much a bakkie world with the farming community and the condition of the roads. SUVs are therefore also very popular here, and the increase to a 6-year/150 000 km warranty supports this and brings peace of mind for customers.”
Asked about extras and fitments, he says towbars and “Agri packs” are very popular for bakkies, even the smaller NP200s. This entails bull bars, rails, rubberising of the loading bed, sound system and towbar, especially on the bigger NP300s.
Dicky’s love for vehicles, and especially Nissan, is part of him from a very young age. “My dad had a Nissan dealership in Vrede and a lot of my time and holidays was spent in the dealership. In 2002, my career kicked off in Newcastle as a Sales Assistant. After that I was appointed Sales Manager in Bethlehem and from there, for a short while, I went to Lydenburg before being appointed Dealer Principal in Morgan Nissan Bethlehem in 2013.”
And what is his management style? “Hands-on! I believe in positivity and team work to overcome obstacles. It is a team effort and this is the reason for our success, as reflected in the awards and other awards that have been bestowed on us over time,” he says.
And is his spare time? “I try to keep busy playing golf, riding motorcycle, doing 4x4 driving, basically anything that is outdoors and has wheels,” Dicky concluded.
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