The Claassen family this year celebrates 23 years of Mercedes-Benz sales and service in the Helderberg, making it the longest standing family-owned Mercedes-Benz agent in the Western Cape.
More than five decades ago, a Mr MH (Kiewiet) Cloete, a farmer from Karasburg, Namibia, registered a new company, MH Cloete Enterprises, trading as Rola Motors, in 1963. He was joined by his daughter Helmine and her husband, Laurie Claassen, a schoolteacher at the time.
In 1994, when Kiewiet Cloete retired, Laurie Claassen became the sole owner of the Rola Motors company; he was joined in the business by both his sons – Theo, who had joined in 1986, and Marius in 1993. Laurie retired in 2007, leaving the company in the hands of his capable sons.
Until about ten years ago, the Mercedes-Benz dealership was based at 274 Main Road, Strand, before moving to its current state-of-the-art premises at No 1 Pacific Close in Somerset Crossing, Somerset West.
It is now a bustling dealership, selling around 50 cars a month and servicing up to 30 a day.
Laurie Claassen coined the phrase “Service is your best salesperson”, which became synonymous with Rola Motors. This has evolved into “Serve with integrity”.
Francois Botha, who was the financial manager, became Dealer Principal of Rola Mercedes-Benz in May this year.
He says in spite of the lockdown, this year is shaping up to be good for the dealership, adding “watch this space”. He is expecting great things from his team and expects to be celebrating a good 2020 when all the results are collated next year, in spite of the tragedy of the national state of disaster. He is extremely proud of the very high levels of their Customer Satisfaction Index achievements.
Botha says the ethos of service is deeply ingrained in the fibre of the dealership and is their strongest aspect. “Great service leads to success.”
Ryan Stokes and his team have been crowned the Certified Pre-owned Dealer of the Year for MBSA for the last two years with Stokes winning the Manager of the Year award.
Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA) kept the wheels rolling this year with the opening of five new dealerships in four provinces.
The latest addition to the Stellantis dealer network is a large, new Super Group multi-franchise facility in Jacaranda Street, Hennopspark, Centurion, for Jeep, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot and Citroën.
We can overcome all the hurdles placed in front of us if we recognise our biggest asset in business is our people, says Rob Downs the Dealer Principal at CMH Nissan and Mitsubishi Pinetown.