JSE-listed vehicle retailer Combined Motor Holdings (CMH) achieved a significant turnaround in its financial performance in the second half of its financial year to end-February 2021.
- Industry News
- 7 May 2021
Welcome Mzimkhulu does not just park cars at the Aksons Wheels dealership in Pietermaritzburg.
Instead, he arranges them like a librarian arranges books – with Audis at one end and VWs at the other, all the front wheels and noses aligned. Dealerfloor met up with this precision parker to hear what it takes to run what is arguably the neatest used car showroom in Mzansi.
The father of four said he takes pride in doing things right. “I tell myself if I have a job to do, no one needs to tell me how to do it. I will do it right – everything 100 percent how I want it.
Dealer Principal Sayed Dawood confirms this, telling Dealerfloor Mzimkhulu must get all the credit for setting the high standards on the busy showroom floor.
Dawood says Aksons Wheels has been selling cars in Pietermaritzburg for over 45 years, 13 of which Mzimkhulu has been responsible for ensuring each of the more than 70 cars arranged on the floor at any time are clean, have the right keys, charged batteries and inflated tyres. “And when it comes to parking precisely in narrow spaces, there is no one better,” adds Dawood.
Moving a car out of a row and onto the street for a test drive is like playing Tetris with really expensive blocks, often requiring at least two other cars to be moved as well. Mzimkhulu, however, does not like asking the sales execs for help, preferring to move the cars on his own.
He has three ladies who clean the vehicles. Like Ford’s ultra-modern factory in Valencia, Spain, they use ostrich feather dusters. “Once the car is clean, we just dust it off using ostrich feathers. It’s go-go technology, these feather dusters, but they are still the best to lift dust off the cars,” says Mzimkhulu.
His other tools are a battery charger, which he uses often; a 12 volt tyre inflator, which he uses rarely; and three key cabinets. Numbering keys is a big part of his job and the reason why his floor is almost obsessively neat. “If you have all the brands and their models lined up in their rows, it makes it easy to get the right key and walk straight to the car you want,” he explains.
Dawood adds the neatly aligned rows of cars also helps with sales. “Just like in a the aisle of a grocery store, customers want to compare products and having all the models lined up right next to each other makes it easy for our buyers to compare vehicles.”
Among all the cars he has had under his care, the Toyota Fortuner is Mzimkhulu’s firm favourite, but he says he is really impressed by the finishing of the Haval models sold next door in the new car section. “I like anything, Toyota first, then Merc, but from what I see when I prepare these Havals, their body work and finishing compete with the best,” says Mzimkhulu.
Interest from investors in pre-owned vehicle franchise dealerships is increasing, according to the WesBank-certified franchise InspectaCar.
The numbers of female car buyers are on the rise around the world and forward looking bosses are all looking at ways to welcome them into showrooms.
Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, once said that great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people.