Regional radio and social media — these are the elements Spencer Tait, Marketing Director for the Alpine Motor Group, credits for VW Alpine in Pinetown being one of Volkswagen SA’s best-selling dealerships.
“With these two platforms, I think I can finally say I know which half of our advertising works,” he told Dealerfloor, referring to the old adage, “only half of our advertising works, problem is, I don’t know which half”.
Tait started in 1988 with then Alpine VW and rose through the ranks to become a very hands-on marketing director. The marketing team he relies on has since raised many eyebrows when they dispensed with traditional print ads in favour of working only with radio and social media. But the results spoke for themselves and now the entire Alpine Motor Group follows Pinetown’s marketing lead.
The Alpine group comprises six car dealerships selling VW and Renault and two commercial vehicle outlets selling MAN and VW trucks and buses in Pinetown, Hillcrest and Umhlanga.
Tait says in the so-called “YouTwitFace” mix, he gets the best engagements on Facebook. To illustrate what he means with engagement, he pulls up the statistics for the post on the limited Golf GTI TCR models on his dealerships’ Facebook page. Only 300 of the TCR have been made available in South Africa and as one of the top performers in the Volkswagen group, VW Alpine Pinetown were allocated nine units.
“All nine have already been pre-sold,” says Tait. “This is thanks to 82,000 views on our TCR post, with 3,500 engagements to date. He said it took VW Alpine’s Facebook page five years to grow to this point, in conjunction with radio sponsorships on East Coast Radio.
His sales staff has to sharpen their pencils daily to offer buyers deals that will save them money. “You have to know your market, for example, on some models, installments are popular, for others, various offers get more views,” he said.
Tait said he considers it a privilege to work with loyal staff, many of whom have been with Alpine for a decade or more. “I see my job as making a work atmosphere that is conducive to success. We have 400 staff in the group and we have to keep aligning to a changing market as an independent, family business,” he says.
Tait brims with optimism for a recovery in car sales. “Volkswagen has nailed it with the T-Cross and we keenly look forward to the T-Rock.”
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.