In June 2020, as most market commentators bemoaned the pedestrian state of vehicle sales, Penta Motors Suzuki in Menlyn sold 105 new cars and set a new all-time sales record for the branch and for Suzuki as a brand.
Meanwhile, the Suzuki dealership in Montana, also a Penta branch, came a close second on the Suzuki roster with 100 new vehicles sold.
This no doubt helped Suzuki as the brand reached a new dealer record of 1 432 units sold in June, giving it a 7.17% share of the passenger vehicle market.
“If I had to single out one reason for our post-lockdown success, it would be the Penta Group’s mindset,” says Francisco Gaie, the regional manager for the Penta Motor Group, which is responsible for the two branches.
“From the moment we realised that we would follow international trends and lock down, we decided to approach the time with positivity and see it as an opportunity to improve and grow.”
This started with a goal-setting session among the Penta directors, who set three clear goals: Be cash positive, focus on training and revisit all internal processes.
“We wanted to make sure that we emerged stronger and with the right mindset. So, at the start of the lockdown, we started with training programmes and a structured programme of revisiting every process to make sure it helped, not hampered, the dealership.”
Penta also swam upstream when it came to marketing. From March onwards, the group doubled its marketing spend. “We have to compliment Suzuki for doing the same and spending a lot on the digital launch of the S-Presso, even though the lockdown scuppered the in-person media and dealer launch,” says Francisco.
The Penta Menlyn Suzuki dealership shares its floor with the group’s FCA (Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep) dealership. In Montana, the Suzuki dealership shares a floor and back office with one of the group’s Mahindra dealerships. It also represents brands such as Nissan, Datsun, Renault, and Volvo.
“We have Suzuki dealers in Klerksdorp and Rustenburg as well, and we aim to be the largest retailer of Suzuki vehicles in South Africa. Our focus on growth and improvement has of course benefited all our brands, and we have seen good months at the FCA brand, Mahindra Montana and elsewhere,” says Francisco.
Despite the severe drought in large parts of the Karoo, the motor business in Graaff-Reinet is stepping up with more brands being represented in this part of the world.
If a pandemic and stock issues aren’t enough of a challenge, why not add a building project/dealership revamp/moving of facilities and getting a second dealership to full independent dealership status to a DP’s list of tasks.
Scott Auto Mazda in Bethlehem has a proud history that stretches back nearly 50 years, which makes them one of the best-known Mazda dealers in the Free State.