Goldwagen supplies high-quality car parts at competitive prices
The car-part supplier franchise prides itself on its knowledge of cars and good spares
In SA's weakening economy, getting value for money is a key consideration in any buying decision – no less so than when it comes to maintaining private vehicles or looking after large fleets.
For Goldwagen, the car-parts supplier franchise based in SA, the answer is simple. “We supply high-quality parts at a substantially better price than most dealerships – a win-win situation when it comes to vehicle maintenance. People really don’t want to sacrifice on quality,” says Sybrand Bezuidenhout, Goldwagen’s franchise and marketing manager.
“Even cost-conscious buyers are wary of grey goods or pirated parts because using them could be catastrophic, so even in this tough economic climate, more and more people are buying from our franchises.”
Eighty percent of the 17 vehicle brands supplied by Goldwagen – including Volkswagen, Audi, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Ford, BMW and, more recently, Land Rover – and close to 40,000 different items supplied by Goldwagen are sourced from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) based in Europe. The company eschews cheap imports from Asia.
The upside of this philosophy is that even in tough times like these when many people are hanging on to their cars for longer, they can now afford to refit and repair them with quality parts. The same applies to fleet managers, who can buy spare parts directly from Goldwagen outlets instead of paying dealership prices. This adds up to substantial savings, particularly where big fleets are involved.
Started in 1992 by two investors who dismantled a second-hand Volkswagen and sold the parts, Goldwagen has 103 outlets, most of which are in SA. Each franchisee employs about 12 people, which is good news in an ailing economy, as more than 1,200 jobs have been created.
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Goldwagen’s success, apart from the massive range of OEM parts it stocks, has largely been owing to the fact that its franchisees are knowledgeable about cars and good spares, meeting quarterly to share information.
“The best franchisees are involved in the business and they empower their staff to make decisions and make them feel valued. They are self-starters who see mutual benefit in succeeding: client-service-orientated people who make decisions quickly.”
Bezuidenhout says sales incentives help growth, and franchisees liaise with allied firms such as car dealerships and other auto repair firms.
Each Goldwagen is individually owned and operated. The oldest franchisee is 68 years old and the youngest 24.
“It is their capital, their investment, and they are partners in growing it by telling us what they need. We respond by giving them what they need. It is a very good collaboration on product development, pricing and service levels.”
Bezuidenhout says the company sets great store by good systems. “You can train and empower people. They need good back-up – for example, our information system has been built by an in-house IT department. You give us your car’s VIN [vehicle identification number] and we give you the right part.”
Bezuidenhout says Goldwagen’s culture is built around the ethos of the founders: “Your word is your honour.” The franchisees are involved in their communities and, in effect, always selling the service they offer.
Their relationship with Goldwagen’s bankers, to some franchisees, is also key to growth, and key banker Laurette Pienaar of Nedbank understands the Goldwagen model thoroughly, says Bezuidenhout.
“Nedbank is prepared to do cash-flow-based lending. Goldwagen has a proven record of 27 years. There have been no failures. The bank has never had to write off bad debt. Nedbank has also given us a great, easy-to-use merchant solution and helps franchisees in their personal capacity.”
For more information, visit the Goldwagen website.
For more information about Nedbank’s franchise division contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was paid for by Nedbank.