On a recent visit to interview the Dealer Principal and other staff at Thorp Motors in Tableview, Dealerfloor shared the waiting room with an older customer, patiently waiting for his car, which was being serviced there.
“You know, I’ve been coming here for many years, still driving the same car I bought back in 2009 from Suzuki Helderberg,” the friendly Tony Carvounes starts up a conversation.
Tony, a partner at Candytron in the nearby Montague Gardens, looks like the retired businessman he is – neatly but casually dressed for the out-of-the-norm warm, windless day in the middle of July; relaxed and patient.
He starts chatting about what he calls “the great service”: “I brought in my car for a quick service and they said it would be ready within the hour,” he says as we were approached by a young man dressed in overalls, holding the keys in his hand.
“She’s ready, Mr Carvounes,” he says from behind his mask.
But Tony wants to chat more. “Thanks,” he says, taking the keys and holding them in his hand, but not moving to get up and into his car quite yet.
“Eleven years ago, I went to another Suzuki branch to look at the SX4. They said they’d call me back. I’m still waiting for the call,” he recalls. “I then approached Helderberg Suzuki where I bought the SX4. What a lovely car. I brought it here for every service, and I still bring it here today. She’s a bit older now, but still the car of choice for me!”
Tony’s brother and his wife have a Grand Vitara and a Swift, he says.
“To me the car is great, but the service is better – that’s why my family and I are still here.”
Tony’s staff at Candytron, local importers and distributors of quality products such as candy, liquorice as well as olives and olive oil, also use a Suzuki Swift, while his niece drives “a smaller one”, the Suzuki Ignis.
“I love the Suzuki brand and their products, but the reason is the people here at my dealership.”
It does not take long to realise that the person on the other side of the telephone is a remarkable woman, someone who knows the motor trade by heart and defiantly not a pushover.
There is no substitute for hard work with passion, doing the things you love.
As the most awarded Volvo dealership in South Africa, TCM is the current South African Volvo Car Dealer of The Year as well as Service Dealer of the Year. Their secret? Making sure their focus is on their people.