Audi Centre Arcadia – SA’s best Audi dealer for five years running

AUDI may have changed the name of its Dealer of the Year award from the Silver Arrow Awards to the Audi Vorsprung Awards – but what has stayed the same are the faces that went up to receive it again this year.

Three, four and now five times in succession for Audi Centre Arcadia is certainly a remarkable achievement, and shows how hard work and effort is rewarded. You could say it’s becoming a habit and it’s certainly a notable achievement,” said Divisional Managing Executive, Phillip Clough.

Management Team – from left: Paul Spruyt, New Vehicle Sales Manager; Dorietha Gouws, Pre-owned Sales Manager, Audi Pre-owned Wonderboom; Phillip Clough, Divisional Executive, Bidvest McCarthy Audi; Kristof Seeger, Pre-owned Sales Manager; Andelene Viljoen, Service Manager; Gwen Pienaar, Parts Manager.

Our success is based on attention to detail – just like eight-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps, who said that winning is a matter of split seconds. We focus, but we’re human and are not perfect; but our attention is on the criteria, and we know we must be better than the team that comes in second.

It takes a lot of hard work from the team and sometimes there are some crucial conversations, but our eye is always on the prize. It’s like any facet of life: it’s not always easy; if you don’t put in the effort, you won’t get the rewards. I don’t have to convince my managers; though initially it required a mind shift, there is so much self belief in the team now in what they do.

Admin and Service Reception Staff – from left: Hettie Jansen, Tsakane Mkhari, Lerato Tswai, Jessica Seema and David Mashamaite.

If they win their respective departmental awards, then we all win. I’ve always said that I win through my people – not at the expense of my people.

Keeping clients happy is easy if the staff are happy, says Clough. It was Richard Branson who said that if you keep your staff happy, then so will your clients. Once a week we get customer survey results that are verbatim comments that they have made, and in these meetings, I act in the clients’ defence in a manner of speaking if the staff don’t agree with what was said.

Audi Wonderboom – from left: Tebogo Magoro, Sonja Steyn, Mxolisi Ndlovu, Mandla Vukela, Phetole Ramonakga, Elsa-Mari Bothma, Lucky Phillips and Lucky Aphane.

The big thing though is that we all make mistakes, but we must learn from them. Most of our jobs have a measure of repetitiveness, so if you’re doing the same thing then those errors will become less.

We also have continuous training and agree to certain procedures because we know what their concerns are, so we keep mistakes to a minimum and hopefully get repeat business. With competitive dealers a chip and a putt away, customers have alternatives – so we have to be on top of our game, he said.

Parts Department – from left; Bonisiwe Mathumbu, Gwen Pienaar and Winnie Makwala.

Like all businesses there are daily challenges that need to be overcome, and it’s no different for Audi Centre Arcadia. However, Clough says that every dealer operates under the same pressures and constraints such as an economy that’s under pressure, load shedding, and low levels of consumer confidence.

It’s like playing sport in the mud; the conditions may be atrocious but both teams are playing under the same conditions. The team that handles the conditions best will walk away winners. Play the hand you’ve been dealt well – and if you do that, you’ll be fine.

We have fuel quality issues so some of the latest engines aren’t available to us, but people like their diesels, which are still a good combination of performance and economy. There’s still a big market for petrol, but as diesel becomes more scarce, especially in the EU, people will switch to petrol and then ultimately to electric cars.

While the world was locked up because of Covid in 2020, internet shopping was all the rage, and there were even predictions that car sales would become exclusively online. “Not so,” says the multiple award winner.

Initial contact is electronic via the various platforms we advertise on, and from there it’s person to person, which our clients prefer. Having been awarded the Audi Dealer of the Year title five years in succession, Clough says the goal has always been the same – but the purpose behind it has varied.

The goal is to win Dealer of the Year, but the purpose is the bigger thing that drives you. You want to be a winner to satisfy the purpose. You need to ask yourself why you want to do something – and that purpose is what ultimately motivates and drives you to achieve.

There’s lots happening for the team this year – mainly because if they win it again, it will be under a new name, Audi Centre Wonderboom.

We will be relocating the dealership to Wonderboom during June this year. It is a significant investment in the Audi brand by the Bidvest McCarthy Group, and we will be the first dealership in South Africa to implement the new corporate identity from Audi. The showrooms will be furnished with the latest design called the ‘House of Progress’.

It’s exciting times but one thing will stay the same, we won’t change the way we serve our clients.

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