JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – The South African motor industry has new competition… not from each others’ products but from the likes of Google, Netflix, AirBnB, Amazon, Uber Eats and Mr D Food.
That is, at least, the view of Ghana Msibi, CEO of WesBank Motor Division (pictured) and he expounded it while addressing an August 2019 Naamsa automotive conference at the Kyalami racing circuit.
Competition, he suggested, from such brands could teach the auto industry some lessons in marketing.
The motorman added: “There will always be original-equipment manufacturers and auto dealers but how our industry does business must change to meet the needs of tomorrow’s customers -they’re becoming more technologically savvy.”
More than 800 people were at the assembly as representatives of automakers, finance houses, industry bodies, auto dealers and value-added service providers, and 41 South African OEM senior executives.
Msibi said current vehicle dealers (and, presumably, their huge acreages of parking and buildings) required ”a seismic shift” in the way it engages with potential customers.
There was, he believed, a greater need for personal communication with customers – which is where he compared showrooms with online businesses such as those mentioned above.
Todays customers, he believe’s, don’t relate well to the traditional ”hard sell”: “The value of the dealer will be diluted if the customer’s experience is poor so it’s imperative that we understand and provide for their needs.”
ADVICE, TRUST, REQUIRED
Further requirements, in Msibi’s world, were no longer about proximity but rather about the ”best deal”.
He encouraged the industry to offer sound advice, build trust, and ask how technology and data could give customers a better experience… and a better price.