FAW South Africa is proud to announce the opening of FAW Ermelo, its newest full sales, service and parts dealer in Ermelo, Mpumalanga.

The new dealership, which opened for business officially on the 1stof February this year, is co-owned by Hercules Lourens and Corrie Barnard. Branch manager, Marelize Potgieter, takes care of the day-to-day running of the facility and is ably backed up by 11 other full-time FAW staff.

The dealership is part of the Ermelo Truck & Tractor Centre (ETTC) Group, which has been successfully operating in Ermelo since 1992. In fact, 25% of all new trucks in the town are currently sold by the seven dealer, 156 people strong Group.

“We have an excellent reputation here in the trucking industry for delivering exceptional service,” says Barnard. “It made sense to bring FAW into the fold as we already had the necessary facilities and resources to do it.

“The FAW range is comprehensive and affordability is key, especially in these economic times. We are targeting the agriculture market in the region specifically. The five and eight-tonne FAW models are ideally suited for these applications – and the pricing is right. Fit-for-purpose trucks are always preferred, and this is especially true in the construction sector. FAW trucks are easy to maintain and very affordable to repair, too,” he motivates.

Barnard says word-of-mouth is a powerful tool and highly influential in transport operations. “Testimonials create trust and credibility and we’ve read and heard many of those. The R600 million Coega investment made by FAW SA gives us great confidence in them as well. It shows us they are here to stay. And our salespeople tell our customers about the fact that FAW has been in South Africa for 23 years already,” he adds.

FAW Ermelo features a hi-tech Pinnacle Dealership Management System, which is used for client prospecting and record keeping. It exclusively offers trade back deals on all new trucks sold in Ermelo and offers in-house Finance & Insurance via ETCC.

“We saw a change in the South African truck market,” continues Barnard.  “Chinese vehicles are gaining market share rapidly and we decided that we needed to close that gap in our multi-franchise truck portfolio.”

Three primary transport industries in Ermelo include coal, construction and agriculture/forestry. There are several national roads entering the town, including the N11, N17 and N2 and it is linked with Middelburg, Newcastle, Swaziland and even Richard’s Bay. Feeder towns Piet Retief, Standerton and Secunda – most of which don’t have truck dealers or appropriate servicing facilities – are all within a 120km radius.

The Ermelo FAW dealership offers a 24/7 breakdown service, which is known to travel as far as Dundee (over 200km away) to service trucks.

“FAW Ermelo will focus a lot on the Total Cost of Ownership for our customers,” Barnard explains. “Part of that strategy includes on-site servicing. This means less downtime for operators as well as reduced risk to their assets. We employ a full-time mechanic who is permanently on the road looking after our customers.”

Barnard explains that FAW Ermelo has received the newly-formulated FAW SA dealer assessment documents and is already compliant with it.

To celebrate the opening, the dealership sponsored the popular Ermelo Airshow on April 7, which was last held back in 2011.

As the joint main sponsor, FAW Ermelo used the event as a launch pad for the FAW brand in the region. Some 40 VIP customers were invited by FAW Ermelo to attend, while 8 000 members of the public were expected to make the trip to the Ermelo airfield, thanks to a well-coordinated marketing effort which saw FAW branding splashed all over the Highveld.