The workshop is where dealerships generate cash flow, but few people spare a thought for the most important part of the workshop — the wash bay.
Handing a dirty car or truck back after a service is the quickest way to create an angry customer, while a clean car with a few complimentary peppermints in the cup holder is a sure way to please the client.
Dealerfloor spoke to wash bay staff to hear what the weirdest things are that they have had to rinse down. While the dealerships prefer to remain anonymous to protect the clients, we can reveal that at least one truck dealership in KwaZulu-Natal has a problem with urine in the engine bays of cash-in-transit vans.
With 45 cash-in-transit robberies reported in South African in just the first two months of 2020 by Banking Risk Information Centre, the security staff delivering money are understandably reluctant to leave the safety of their armoured vehicles for any reason — even to urinate. Instead, the drivers open the engine bay and relieve themselves onto the hot metal.
The resulting stench is so bad that when the vans arrive for a scheduled service, they have to go for a hose-down before the mechanics can start to service the truck.
“Smells like Nando’s”
At the 24-hr Surgomanzi Truck Wash near the new Maydon Wharf Bulk terminal in the Durban Harbour, the staff wielding the hoses report a much better smell from the rear of tipper driver Baster Muchenje’s truck.
Muchenje is infamous for never leaving any fresh roadkill behind and has become a bit of master chef in cooking Guinea fowl spatshcock-style on his exhaust stack.
He told Dealerfloor the birds peck maize seeds that fall off tipper trucks’ along their delivery routes and in their greed to gobble down as much seed as possible, they often wait until it’s too late to fly away, instead flapping straight into his bullbar.
These birds are soon plucked and wired to the exhaust. Muchenje said it takes about five hours of steady heat from the exhaust to slow-grill the birds to tender perfection. He likes to eat his cooked birds with birdseye chilli seeds, which is why the back of his horse often smells like a Nando’s.
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.