Bay Auto Dealer Receives Top Bmw Honors, Reacts on New Act

by : Hailey Kerr

There may still be a blazing debate on he effects of the new National Credit Act on a broad range of businesses. But the top metropolitan dealer of a luxury carmaker that manufactures BMW fuel pump gives the law his full backing.

Des Soutar, the managing director of Port Elizabeth's Continental Cars, spoke after the operation received the BMW metropolitan dealership of the year award for 2006-2007. This was the fifth time in six years that it has won the distinction. The honors received is a first in the German carmaker's dealership network in South Africa.

Twenty-six-year-old Soutar, who is a veteran of the motor industry, said in his speech his view on the new credit act that it is good for both the business and the consumers. He explained that because of the time that the act now takes to get financial clearance and increased administration, there will be negatives from a business point of view but that will improve, while, the new law as a whole adds a lot of protection for all who are involved. And coming from a consumer's point of view, Soutar said the Act means that they have to be provided with all the transaction details that include the vehicle price, additional charges, installment payments, residual values and so on in writing up front.

He continued that any dealership that does not provide that information correctly is subject to a fine at a maximum of 10 percent of turnover that could run into millions. He deduced that it is not worth taking any risks.

He has also been deeply concerned regarding how dealerships add on costs from getting the vehicle on the road with a tank of petrol to special deals on add-on items such as paint protection and life insurance. He further said that these questionable practices will be stopped as another effect of the Act. The industry veteran continued that a more positive effect is that private leasing is now allowed, and again subject to the precise details being provided up front.

Moreover, Soutar said that the dealer of the year title had been judged on a range of factors that include sales volumes for new and used cars, parts as well as service sales, customer satisfaction index research, facilities, and general standards.

Backed by BMW SA and empowerment partners Stephen Dondolo and Matthew Klaas in taking over the operation in 1998, Soutar also said that volumes had grown in that time from almost 22 combined new and used cars to nearly 35 new and 25 used cars a month, and the addition of 10 motorcycles.

Staff had increased from 60 to 80 and the company's move from Govan Mbeki Avenue to the new R25- million premises in Greenacres had paid off in a big way.

From 60 to 80, staff had increased and the company's transferring from Govan Mbeki Avenue to the new R25- million premises in Greenacres had given something in a big way.