Dealerfloor recently met with Piet Botha, Dealer Principal at Westvaal Motors in Welkom. This dealership, with its landmark building in the centre of the city’s motor-heartland, recently replaced its Opel franchise with Suzuki. Isuzu, however, remains a mainstay of this dealership.
DF: How is business doing post lockdown? Are you noticing any interesting trends?
PB: The re-opening of business after the Level 5 National Lockdown was a slow and tedious process. There are lots of protocols to follow to prepare the workplace for our employees and customers. We made it easy with the teamwork and adhering to the protocols.
We became fully operational in the beginning of June, and we are still adhering to all protocols every day to keep our customers and employees safe from COVID-19. Sales have been picking up since May, and our customers have been very excited about our home-delivery service.
DF: You have gained Suzuki but lost Opel. How is Suzuki doing, and which model is the most popular?
PB: The Suzuki S-Presso launch just before lockdown created a lot of buzz with the customers with its SUV looks and comfortable drive. It is also very competitively priced compared to its competitors in the small-vehicle segment, especially since it includes one year free insurance.
Suzuki is doing great in Welkom thanks to more brand awareness. We are supporting local events and sports days (before lockdown) like the young rugby ‘Bulletjie Fees’, which was hosted at the Welkom Club. The S-Presso is a top seller currently, for the above-mentioned reasons, and the new Jimny is doing just as well. Our customers dubbed it the “mini G-Class” owing to its new body shape.
DF: Talking about Opel. Are you still servicing Opels, and what is the long-term prospect of getting the brand back on the local dealer floor?
PB: We do not service Opels at our Welkom Dealership, only if they are out of warranty. We mainly service Isuzu, Suzuki and Chevrolet. Currently, there are no plans of bringing Opel back to our dealership, although we do work with our other branches, if there is a need.
DF: How is Isuzu doing and are you excited about a brand new one that will be here soon?
PB: Isuzu is doing great right now, especially with deals worked out for businesses and individuals. For instance, we offer a free canopy on certain models until the end of August. There is plenty excitement about the new Isuzu that’s on its way, which we predict will be more towards the end of 2021.
DF: On a personal note, tell us a bit more about yourself and your career.
PB: I am originally from Bloemfontein from where I then moved to Pretoria to further my career. My family still lives in Pretoria, and my parents are in Bloemfontein on a farm.
I have been in the motor trade for the last 20 years, starting as a used car salesperson. I worked my way up and started with the Westvaal Holdings Group in 2017 as Dealer Principal. I have been in Welkom for a year and a half now.
Most of my free time is spent with my family in Pretoria and in Bloemfontein. Welkom is centrally located between the two. My life motto is: “Nothing is too challenging.”
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