SA’s top VW car franchise opens new MAN dealership
With a history dating back to 1973, Alpine Motors has earned an enviable reputation in the South African automotive retail industry, with a business ethos centred on superior customer service that has made the Volkswagen (VW)/Audi franchise the top selling VW car vehicle dealership in the country for the last five years.
Based in Pinetown and owned by eight partners, including Garth La Reservee who helped found the company with his brothers Creston and Kevin, Alpine Motors has been an MAN and VW Trucks and Buses service dealership since 2010, operating out of its existing commercial vehicle workshops. In 2013, the company invested over R40million in building a new dedicated MAN/VW heavyduty commercial vehicle sales and servicing facility in New Germany, Kwa Zulu-Natal.
Situated alongside South Africa’s busiest logistics corridor, the N3 highway, and the strategic connection to the N2 via the M19, Alpine Truck & Bus is the latest addition to MAN’s growing dealer network in Southern Africa and is equipped with state-of-the-art vehicle servicing facilities and equipment.
Officially opened on 29 October 2015, the new dealership welcomed MAN executive board members from Germany, Markus Geyer (Senior VP: Middle East,India & Africa) and Bjorn Loose (Global Head of Marketing), and South Africa, including Geoff du Plessis, Managing Director and Charman of MAN Truck & Bus SA, at a gala evening held inside the pristine workshop.
Anchoring the event presentations was Alpine Partner and Director, Bruce Dickson: “Alpine Motors Group has spared no expense in building what is a world-class heavy-Commercial vehicle servicing facility and this new dealership, Alpine Truck & Bus, is geared to meet the demands of a growing heavy commercial vehicle market in the region,” said Dickson.
The facility boasts nine service bays, a wash bay with a pit, a full parts department, state-of-the-art equipment including a hi-tech brake-roller tester and a computerised oil dispensing system.
“All of these features give this facility the necessary future-proofing to handle developments in both the automotive engineering and legislative environments,” added Dickson. “The facility also has a very well appointed driver hospitality suite, which amplifies Alpine’s commitment to service quality, driver comfort and road safety. While this new facility will help build Alpine’s MAN service capacity, it will also add muscle to our sales and support offering for VW trucks and buses.”
Ian Seethal, Head of Network Development, MAN Truck & Bus SA explained that, “It is at the dealership where the brand has to demonstrate its power and where we have to respond to customer needs. At this very place, the foundation for long-term customer relations is being built. This new dealership expands MAN’s current and impressive dealer footprint in South Africa and reinforces our commitment to our customers which is to provide professional levels of customer service at strategic locations. We thank Garth La Reservee and partners for their investment in the MAN Brand and commitment to customer service.”
Alpine has been in the vanguard of VW truck and bus sales in South Africa, adopting creative measures to make VW derivatives from Brazil more suita- ble for local conditions, with recent pilot 4x2 to 6x2 truck-tractor/Rigid conversions being a prime example. “We are also looking forward to introducing the latest VW models from Brazil when our local emissions standards demand Euro 5 compliance. These new derivatives are setting fuel efficiency benchmarks in tough operating conditions in Latin America and will be ideal for several African truck and bus applications in the near future,” Dickson said.
MAN Truck & Bus SA Managing Director, Geoff du Plessis underscored the shared values of both organisations: “Our commonality lies in our passion for our customers. With Alpine being founded by Garth and his brother when they were in their early teens, servicing cars in their parents’ yard illustrates perfectly how, in order to succeed in this business, one has to begin at ground level with sleeves rolled up and a willingness to get one’s hands dirty. After four decades, Alpine has grown to become an entrepreneurial leader in its field and the fact that every customer is greeted by one of your directors when they bring a vehicle in for a service is something that resonates strongly with MAN’s approach to customer service.”
With the capacity to achieve industry-leading truck and bus servicing targets, Dickson stated: “Our focus here is fully on service levels – on quality rather than quantity. We could achieve 3000 hours per month but are setting our sights on 2500 hours per month to achieve the highest possible levels of service and therefore, benchmark customer satisfaction ratings.”
Dickson added that Alpine Truck & Bus will in future focus on onsite workshops at its customer depots, of which Timber Logistics Services, a leading forestry fleet and Smart Truck operation, is the first. This service will be offered to both big and small fleets, as will the dealership’s mobile workshops and 24/7 roadside assist.
“Testimony to the overall quality of this new facility is the extent to which MAN has been involved in its road to completion. Apart from full MAN accreditation on our equipment and skills capacity, we implemented MAN SERVICE CORE PROCESSES, a proprietary quality assurance programme specifically for the MAN and VW truck and bus servicing, a year ago. MAN South Africa head office sent out a team to audit our processes and they were tremendously impressed. In fact, they stated quite emphatically that Alpine runs these processes better than any workshop they’ve ever audited,” said Dickson.
MAN products are the foundation of the organisation’s success, as they are to the success of its customers, concluded Geyer, “but excellent service is equally important and this is achieved by the people who work at our dealerships. It’s all about the brand; the products, the people and how they present themselves. Alpine Truck & Bus’ customer focus is a very good example of how a world-class dealership and workshop should be run and I am convinced it will be successful and create an enormous advantage for our VW and MAN customers.”
German Engineering excellence on display
Ideal for Africa - Two VW Workhorses
Alpine Motors Kevin Berry welcomes guests
Geoff du Plessis enthuses on the in-workshop celebratory roof-wetting
Bruce Dickson With Garth La Reservee
Markus Geyer highlights the prospects for Alpine Truck & Bus
Bruce Dickson with his Alpine Truck & Bus Team
Garth La Reservee (left) and Markus Geyer cut the dealership's official launch ribbon
Geoff du Plessis (right) with Alpine Motors Group Board of Directors
Pristine conditions and state-of-the-art equipment for superior service
Computerised and clean - The oil room at Alpine Truck & Bus