Isuzu salespeople are the nation's best according to a cars.co.za survey. Picture: SUPPLIED
Isuzu salespeople are the nation's best according to a cars.co.za survey. Picture: SUPPLIED

Isuzu has come out tops in an a Cars.co.za poll on which brand’s dealers have the best new-vehicle salespeople.

The annual Ownership Satisfaction Survey — conducted in partnership with Lightstone Consumer — has surveyed almost 30,000 car owners over the past five years.

In terms of the purchasing experience, recent new-car buyers were asked about their sales experience including the salesperson’s professionalism, friendliness, (perceived) honesty, product knowledge, how well extras and add-ons such as insurance, on-the-road costs etc were explained, as well as the salesperson’s overall communication.

The brand that topped the 2019 survey was Isuzu, with a score of 9.1 out of 10. Toyota, Honda and Mazda scored 9 out of 10, with Suzuki coming in at 8.9. All top five brands were Japanese.

Ford, BMW and Nissan (all with scores rounded off to 8.9) followed closely thereafter.

In terms of product knowledge, Isuzu's salespeople were once again rated tops (score of 9.2), but Toyota's second-place finish (9.1) in this section was impressive given its extensive model range. The rest of the rankings closely mirrored the overall picture, but Mahindra was in a notable eighth place with a score of 8.9.

"Isuzu's excellent performance in the sales process is particularly impressive because it was part of General Motors (GM) not so long ago and most GM brands did not perform well in our survey," says Cars.co.za Consumer Experience Manager, Hannes Oosthuizen.

"It is evident that the fact that the marque had only a single brand to focus on was a distinct advantage, in addition to selling a well-known and proven product, but another contributing factor is that the company's entire existence depends largely on the dealership network's ability to move this product (D-Max) against much newer competition.”

ASTON MARTIN GETS A MANAGEMENT SHAKE-UP

Andy Palmer has been fired as Aston Martin’s CEO and will be replaced by Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG.

Tobias Moers comes to Aston Martin after 25 years in senior roles at Daimler. Picture: SUPPLIED
Tobias Moers comes to Aston Martin after 25 years in senior roles at Daimler. Picture: SUPPLIED

Moers, 54, will be based at the Company’s headquarters in Gaydon, UK and will report to the Executive Chairman, Lawrence Stroll, the Canadian billionaire who rescued the struggling British sports car maker by buying a minority stake in January.

Stroll also owns the Racing Point Formula One team, formerly Force India, with his son Lance as one of the drivers. Aston Martin’s naming partnership with Red Bull Racing will end after the 2020 season and Racing Point will be rebranded to Aston Martin next year.

The company said Moers had built a reputation for transforming businesses in tough environments during his 25 years in senior roles at Daimler. Germany's Daimler AG owns a 5% stake in Aston Martin and supplies the firm with Mercedes-AMG engines.

The 107-year-old British carmaker, famous for being secret agent James Bond's favourite car, has seen its share price plummet 98% since floating in October 2018. The already struggling company lost £119m in the first three months of the year as the coronavirus pandemic caused Aston Martin sales to plunge.

Palmer leaves the company after taking the reins as CEO in 2014. In that time Aston Martin has renewed its core sports car range with the DB11, Vantage and DBS Superleggera, and introduced the brand’s first SUV, the DBX. It has also developed the Valkyrie and Valhalla mid-engined hypercars.

MINIATURE ROLLS-ROYCES BUILT WITH BIG CARE

Sir Henry Royce once said, “Small things make perfection, but perfection is no small thing”. It is in this vein that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has created scale models of its Cullinan SUV for clients.

Not your average scale model, the 1:8 Rolls-Royce Cullinan is crafted with nearly as much care as the real car. Picture: SUPPLIED
Not your average scale model, the 1:8 Rolls-Royce Cullinan is crafted with nearly as much care as the real car. Picture: SUPPLIED

The 1:8 scale replicas are individually crafted by hand, to the client’s specification, from more than 1,000 individual components. This process can take up to 450 hours — more than half of the time required to build a full-sized Cullinan at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, UK.

The replica is hand-painted using Rolls-Royce colour-matched paint, then hand-polished to the marque’s exacting specification. Clients may choose from a palette of about 40,000 "standard" colours, or replicate their own personal bespoke finish.

The functioning exterior lights are operated by a Cullinan-branded remote control; under the bonnet is a perfect likeness of the ‎6.75l twin-turbocharged V12 engine.

On opening the coach doors, illuminated treadplates are revealed, leading to an interior executed with the materials, skill and attention to detail lavished on the real Cullinan, including the headrest embroidery and wood finishes to seat piping and stitching.