BUSINESS NEWS - In May 2019, Ford Mossel Bay was front page news for all the wrong reasons.
Staffers were facing an uncertain future as the branch was left in utter turmoil and closed down.
Almost two years later, Ford Mossel Bay is in the news again. But this time, in the headlines with a real feel-good story of beauty rising from the ashes, as it scooped top national accolades in its category.
In 2019 businessman Gideon Knoetze, owner of Mossel Bay and Knysna Volkswagen, stepped in and successfully acquired the franchise, albeit it being a sinking ship. Ford Mossel Bay opened its doors again in August 2019. With the same staff still on board, a massive collective effort ensured that the wheels were slowly but surely set in motion on the way to recovery.
According to Riaan Stander, group general manager of Ford Mossel Bay, this was only possible thanks to the input and commitment of each and every staff member. But just as their efforts gained momentum, Covid-19 closed the doors for a second time, only six months down the line. "It was incredibly disheartening to see the dead engine that we revived after reopening, just stopped again. Staff had hardly recovered from the trauma of facing job losses the previous year and again, the uncertainty of whether our business would survive ensued."
However, says Stander, the staff deserve all the credit for developing an immense sense of solidarity, as they again had to dig deep to find commitment and staying power. Knoetze echoes this sentiment, saying that, as far as Ford Mossel Bay is concerned, more good than bad came from Covid-19.
"Our story proves that where human beings are, there is never a case of there being no hope."
The proof of Ford Mossel Bay's inspirational story is in the pudding. In the section for most improved service department, the branch was listed among the top three in its category nationwide.
Top honours were bestowed on Johan Smit for both best parts manager and outstanding parts management performance in 2020 – a year most South Africans hate to remember.
Dealer Principal Gerhard de Necker says the award is based on scoring top marks in 24 criteria, which is truly a credit to the staff and their ability to work as a cohesive team.
Stander elaborates, saying that the service and parts department of any car dealership lies at the heart of client service. "From the purchase of a vehicle, there are no less than 14 interactions with the client, mainly with these two departments. Hence, they contribute largely to building the brand and ensuring loyalty."
Knoetze wants the story of Ford Mossel Bay to give hope in a time when hopelessness seems to be the order of the day, especially in the business sector. "We will always remain a client-centred business and our staff have proved that going through tough times can create a dream team that stays on track for a great prize at the finish line."
Visit Ford Mossel Bay, corner of Louis Fourie Road and Via Appie Street or dial 083 273 6723.
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