GMSA Exports First Isuzus To Kenya

General Motors South Africa (GMSA) exported its first shipment of Isuzu KB light commercial vehicles (LCV) to Kenya over the weekend. Kenya is the latest addition to the company’s existing right hand drive export markets of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mauritius.
The Isuzu brand is already well established in Kenya where last year it achieved a 30 per cent share of the new light commercial vehicle segment market.
According to Rita Kavashe, Managing Director of East Africa and GMSA Exports Manager, the expansion of exports of the locally assembled Isuzu KB into key Sub-Saharan Africa markets will continue to build momentum over the coming months.
“When production of the new generation Isuzu KB commences at the company’s Struandale facility next year, this will represent the first time that the vehicle will be built in both right and left hand drive. This will open up new opportunities for us to export the Isuzu KB beyond our existing markets to rapidly growing countries like Angola and Nigeria.”
She emphasised that, according to the International Monetary Fund, Africa was the fastest growing region in the world with its GDP growing an average of 5.5 percent a year between 2000 and 2012, compared to a global average of 4.4 percent. “We are implementing aggressive measures to ensure that we are able to grow our vehicle sales volumes, as the economies in these countries grow.”
Kavashe said that there were opportunities in the short to medium term to expand export markets for the Isuzu KB in Sub-Saharan Africa. “To this end we are working closely with Isuzu Motors Company to leverage our resources to robustly grow our footprint in key markets. Key to achieving this is strengthening our distribution network, improving logistics efficiencies, ensuring that the right product portfolio is in place and providing excellent after sales support to our customers.”
These increased export volumes will ensure that the company achieves the government’s Automotive Production and Development Plan (APDP) production volume of 50 000 units per annum which comes into effect in 2013. “With all the development happening in SSA as countries improve road infrastructure, agriculture and invest in construction of new buildings, there is opportunity to sell our tough commercial vehicles in these markets,” said Kavashe.
The Isuzu KB has a production history that dates back 40 years at the Port Elizabeth plant and produced more than half a million units since 1972. Known for durability and reliability the new Isuzu promises an extensive line-up across all three body styles and is the ideally suited for the rugged Africa terrain said Kavashe.
“The Isuzu name is recognised worldwide for its leadership and innovation and at GM SSA we are proud to be part of the international leading brand,” added Kavashe.
General Motors South Africa is currently investing R1 billion in its three new vehicle assembly programmes which include the Chevrolet Utility which came on stream at the end of last year, the new Spark which will roll off the company’s production lines later this month and the 6th generation Isuzu KB which is set to be launched in Sub-Saharan Africa during the first half of 2013.

GMSA's Renews Sales And Marketing Team

General Motors South Africa (GMSA) has made a number of key leadership appointments in its Sales and Marketing Department to position itself for further future growth.
Malcolm Gauld, GMSA Vice President of Sales and Marketing explains, “These new appointments, effective from January 1st 2012, form the basis of a strong Sales and Marketing team. Each new appointee has proven to be dedicated, talented in their fields, and extremely knowledgeable about the company and our products. Together they create a formidable force ready to tackle a rather competitive automotive market.”
The new structure begins with Alastair Ironside, a 31 year veteran with the company, who takes a leadership role as the new General Manager, Marketing. Ironside returned to South Africa after a five year stint in Thailand where he was Director of Planning and Programme Management for South East Asia. In his role abroad he was instrumental in the development of the Chevrolet Trailblazer, the new seven-seater that will be introduced to the local market next year.
Asked what he thought of the South African market, Ironside said, “This market is one of the most brand-over-traded markets in the world; however, GMSA through its well entrenched brands Chevrolet, Opel and Isuzu, has earned credibility and respect over the years.”
Supporting his efforts are two Brand Managers. Mlungisi Nonkonyana, previously the Market Area Manager for Johannesburg, is promoted to the position of Isuzu Brand Manager after nearly nine years with the company while Chris Cradock picks up the position of Opel Brand Manager, both reporting to Ironside. Both new appointees bring a wealth of product knowledge to their new positions and are wholly dedicated to driving their respective brand identities in the SA market.
Replacing Nonkonyana in the Market Area Manager position is Juanita Smith, who has spent almost 17 years with the company. During this period, Smith held various positions within the Finance and Marketing departments, with her last position being Chevrolet Product Manager.
Meanwhile, Cyril Gumede, who has been with GMSA for nearly seven years, has accepted the challenging position as Market Planning Manager by displaying a strong aptitude towards this particular discipline. Gumede replaces Chris Cradock.
On the sales side, Isaiah Ntuli has been promoted from Regional Manager to Vehicle Sales Manager, taking over from American born, Brian Olson, who came to South Africa in 2005. Ntuli has been with GMSA for almost five years and is excited about his new role.
The globally-renowned Chevrolet brand gains a new Product Manager in Lloyd Appanna, who moves to Johannesburg from the Durban regional office.
“With this team we have the ideal skills and personalities in place to properly drive all our products to new levels of success in the South African motoring industry, and GMSA is looking forward to hitting new highs as a company in the course of 2012,” adds Gauld.
This revitalised team is tasked with continuing the remarkable strengthening of GM brands Chevrolet, Opel and Isuzu, highlighted by a year-on-year new vehicle sales increase of 24,4 per cent for 2011 compared to the previous year. This improvement of fortune is itself the result of the unrelenting focus on improving brand image undertaken by GMSA.
Gauld concludes, “We are confident that these new leaders will take GM and its brands to new heights.”

New Dealer Training College For GMSA

General Motors South Africa (GMSA) has launched a new dealer training programme for young sales executives at GM dealers in an effort to strengthen sales expertise and provide customers with top-quality service.
The GM College programme, which takes place over a six month period, incorporates four months’ training at GMSA’s Sales and Marketing office as well as a two month rotational in-dealer training regimen.
Focusing on university graduates, the first course is being embraced by 25 enthusiastic candidates, who started in February said Malcom Gauld, GMSA Vice President of Sales and Marketing. These students will become a feeder pool to the dealers.
“The sales staff at dealers plays a critical role in driving customers to buy our products and they are the first point of contact with customers. We believe that this programme will help new recruits gain the necessary sales skills and knowledge about our brands and products.”
A comprehensive curriculum has been strategically designed around the vehicle selling process, and modules include dealership dynamics, buyer profiles, basic vehicle technologies, communication skills, stress management, financial and consumer laws, product knowledge and various practical assignments, amongst others.
Dr Alf Bennett, Dealer Training and Manpower Development Manager at GMSA said, “The company is committed to develop professional and competent sales executives to ensure that our service levels to customers are of the highest levels. We have made tremendous progress over the last few years in the bi-annual Synovate Competitive Customer Enthusiasm surveys (CCE) where we have achieved leading positions in both sales and aftersales service, but we are determined to do even better in the future. The introduction of the GM College is a big step towards giving effect to a much more professional, career orientated individual who will be able to excel in the motor industry: initially as a sales executive, but later also as a sales manager and even dealer principal.”