13 Jul
Mercedes-Benz sets the benchmark

When the Akoo family started selling cars in Winkelspruit in 1991, they wanted to do the best they could for their customers. That ethos still applies today

Story by Peta Lee

At the official opening of the new R125-million Mercedes-Benz showroom in Caversham Road, Pinetown, in June, director Hassan Akoo, brand centre leader of the NMI-DSM Group, said they were extremely proud of the new outlet.

The hi-tech showroom, owned by NMI-DSM, a joint venture company between Barloworld and NH Partnership, replaces the original Old Main Road branch, a landmark in Pinetown for two decades.

Akoo said the rationale for building the new outlet was threefold: to provide a showroom to match the quality of the cars within it; to up their game in offering top-notch service; and give customers a modern, luxury showroom. “The best or nothing,” he quipped.

The Akoo family also owns Garden City Motors in Maritzburg, Mercedes-Benz uMhlanga, and NMI-Mercedes-Benz in Old Fort Road, Durban.

Florian Seidler, co-CEO Mercedes-Benz South Africa and executive director Mercedes-Benz SA Cars, said that the new showroom was befitting of the iconic three-pointed-star, last year named SA’s Coolest Automotive Brand by the Sunday Times.

Mercedes-Benz ranks as one of SA’s biggest taxpayers, offering 29 products, and by the end of 2020, 42 products. The world’s biggest C-Class plant is in East London, which has built 110 000 units so far and exports to 90 countries.

The new 14 500m2 outlet offers customers the ultimate in service, said dealer principal Wilanda Stubbs. “We have five floors, 85 staff, 20 workshop bays, a wheel alignment bay and 350 parking bays, making us the second biggest showroom in KZN. Our technical service staff can service and repair around 55 cars per day.”

Operating as one of the five Mercedes-Benz Brand Centres countrywide, with new and pre-owned showrooms, and dedicated customer interaction hubs, including digital and online services, the dealership is a beacon of excellence.

Stubbs takes huge pride in the brand and the showroom, and nothing, she said, “is too much trouble for customers or staff.” *



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