LONG ROAD: Marcia Mayaba, now head of commercial vehicles at Isuzu Zambezi. Picture: SUPPLIED
LONG ROAD: Marcia Mayaba, now head of commercial vehicles at Isuzu Zambezi. Picture: SUPPLIED

This week, to coincide with the end of women’s month, we chat to Marcia Mayaba, who has come from humble beginnings to become one of the most influential and inspirational trailblazers in the local retail motor industry.

Born in Orlando East in Soweto Mayaba has had a rather colourful career. Back in 1997, as her first gig in the industry, Mayaba was appointed as a trainee at the then Barmot Truck Hire in Cleveland, Johannesburg, (now Avis Barloworld Truck Rental), which was a proving ground for her in both passenger and commercial vehicle transport in SA.

She worked her way up to management level at Avis and obtained her qualification in Road Transport from the then RAU (Rand Afrikaanse University), now known as University of Johannesburg.

After 10 years with Avis, she decided to explore the motor industry further by venturing into the car rental space where she was appointed the national operations manager for Value Car Rental.

Having celebrated being a female of colour in the industry, Mayaba’s entire employment history in the motor industry has been coupled with being head-hunted at every opportunity.

In 2009, she was approached by the MD of Imperial Lindsay Saker group and subsequent to interviews and discussions she actually turned down the offer of being appointed the dealer principal for one of the group’s VW dealerships.

She attributes this to not being ready for the role and instead opted to first undergo training to be better prepared, as failure was not an option.

After plying her trade as a trainee dealer principal, she then became the first black female dealer principal for Volkswagen, Imperial Auto and Lindsay Saker. Under her stewardship, the Alberton Lindsay Saker dealership won Dealer of the Year awards in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 financial years.

In July 2016, Mayaba joined the Barloworld Group as dealer principal of General Motors Bruma until September 2017, when GM suddenly pulled out of the South African market, leaving Isuzu to pick up the baton, which saw Mayaba appointed Isuzu Johannesburg LCV dealer principal since October 2017 and more recently, Isuzu Zambezi CV/LCV head.

“This remains a huge responsibility, but one I look forward to making a great success of and inspire more women of colour to follow in my footsteps and forge a successful career in what is still a predominantly male dominated industry.

“My previous role as the dealer principal of GM Bruma came with a great deal of pressure when the announcement that GM was pulling out of the country meant that my staff members’ jobs were on the line. However, we managed to find and place more than 80% of that staff complement elsewhere in a short space of time, which was no easy task,” she says.

Biggest dream

Mayaba says that one of her biggest dreams is to own her own dealership, but that the barriers of entry into this space remains a hurdle and that she would like to see this change.

Her career path in the motor industry is something to behold and her determination to become an even more resounding success and inspiration is well documented.

She says she will continue to advocate for transformation and empowerment in the motor retail space, which is a fitting tribute for women in the automotive industry.