Press Release : SA motorists crown the heavyweight champions of the automotive industry

The Standard Bank People’s Wheels Conference and Awards in association with Times Media Events took place today at the Sandton Convention Centre. With the venue set up to resemble a boxing ring, the event was appropriately themed as a knock-out.

Following a nationwide survey of the motoring public, winners were named in 22 vehicle categories with the title of People’s Choice – the vehicle that recorded the most votes of all – going to Mercedes-Benz’s newly introduced V-Class.

In the preferred fuel category, Engen took home its fifth consecutive award and reigning champion Continental took the top spot once more as the preferred tyre replacement brand.

“As the key enabler in helping people realise their dreams and aspirations, Standard Bank views the awards as a valuable information tool. We would like to congratulate all the deserving winners in their various categories. The people have spoken,” said Nicholas Nkosi, Head of Vehicle and Asset Finance – Retail Banking at Standard Bank.

The Awards presentation took the form of a breakfast at which former world champion boxer, Brian Mitchell was guest speaker. The conference element of the event included two panel discussions, the first of which took the form of a blow by blow evaluation of the impact of global trends and affairs on the local automotive industry. Special focus was placed on brand reputation, sales revenue, product development and quality.

Taking part were Selvin Govender, Marketing Director, Mercedes-Benz Cars; Des Fenner, General Manager, Datsun South Africa; Nicholas Nkosi, Head of Vehicle and Asset Finance – Retail Banking, Standard Bank and Guy Kilfoil, General Manager: Brand Management BMW, Marketing Services BMW Group.

On the changing retail environment Kilfoil commented that manufacturers needed to become more involved. “At the moment we occupy the wholesale space,” he said.

Kilfoil maintained that consumers were generally well-informed about vehicles they wanted to purchase and were therefore making fewer visits to dealerships for information. He said in many respects it had become easier for sales representatives to destroy sales rather than close them.

Govender said the market was growing in terms of derivatives on offer because manufacturers were continuously creating and filling niches. “The way customers do their research means that the role of the sales executive has changed,” he said.

kosi said with consumers spoilt for choice, brand loyalty was often tested. “For many consumers what is important is that the car does what it is supposed to do, rather than what brand it is,” he said.
Kilfoil added: “Although this might be the case, the economic climate means that many consumers are thinking carefully before spending their money and are coming back to brands they trust.”

Fenner said consumers wanted value for money, regardless of the segment in which they shopped. “While factors like fuel consumption and running costs play more of a role in decision making at the lower end of the market, consumers in the premium segment are well-versed in the technology that they want and need in their vehicles,” he added.

The second discussion examined viability versus survival in the dealer environment. Panellists included Bruce Allen, chairperson of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association and the senior national vice president, Derik Scorer; Keith Dye, Head of Vehicle and Asset Finance at Standard Bank; and Derick de Vries, Senior Vice President of Auto, at Transunion.

Consensus was that South Africa’s motor dealers were resilient and had always been able to bounce back in difficult economic times. Lessons learnt during the testing times of 2008 and 2009 would play a role in helping dealers to overcome current challenges.

“The topics at this year’s event really resonated with the industry considering that they were topical in terms of macro-economic issues the country and the globe are facing currently. The engagements across both panel discussions provided insights and solutions which we can all go back and integrate into our respective working environments,” Nkosi said.

In the People’s Wheels Poll, vehicles from Ford scooped victories in the bakkie and small and compact SUV categories, winning awards for the Ford Ranger – both single and double cab models – and the Ecosport and Kuga.

The sexiest hybrid on our roads, BMW’s i8, outdid its competitors in the Hybrids & Electrics category. Range Rover’s Evoque and the Range Rover Sport were champions in the Premium Class and Luxury SUVs & Crossovers categories.

By far the most formidable contender was Mercedes-Benz. Of the 16 categories in which the brand’s models featured as finalists, it managed to knock out competitors to take top honours in six – and also win the People’s Choice Award.

Volkswagen nabbed three trophies, Jaguar took two and Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Audi, and Porsche each walked away with an award. In the Ownership Satisfaction Survey, Mercedes-Benz took top honours with Audi and Honda tying for second place.

In a dealership satisfaction survey, the public commended the following six dealerships: Action Ford Roodepoort; Auric Auto Claremont; Auto Bavaria Midrand; CMH Bryanston; Grand Central Motors Midrand; and Williams Hunt Port Elizabeth.

Results of the People’s Wheels Poll were published in the 2016 edition of the Auto Annual – which was released at the event.

Wilma Lawrence was one very fortunate first time voter who walked away with a handsome cheque for R25 000 – a lucky draw incentive offered to anyone who took part in the People’s Wheels Awards surveys.

Herewith a complete list of all the winners in their respective categories:

CATEGORY

WINNER

 

OWNERSHIP SURVEY

Preferred Fuel Brand

Engen

Preferred Tyre Replacement Brand

Continental

Highly Recommended Dealerships

Action Ford Roodepoort / Auric Auto Claremont / Auto Bavaria Midrand / CMH Bryanston / Grand Central Motors Midrand / Williams Hunt Port Elizabeth

Ownership Survey – Brand Champion

Mercedes-Benz

PEOPLE’S WHEELS POLL

Category 1: Budget Buys

VOLKSWAGEN Polo Vivo

Category 2: Compact Commuters

VOLKSWAGEN Polo

Category 3: Compact Executive Cars

MERCEDES-BENZ A-Class / CLA

Category 4: Family Friendly Cars

MERCEDES-BENZ C-Class

Category 5: Mid-Sized Executive Cars

JAGUAR XF

.

Category 6: Premium Luxury Cars

MERCEDES-BENZ S-Class

Category 7: Super Luxury Cars

ASTON MARTIN Rapide

Category 8: Sporty Drop Tops

JAGUAR F-Type

Category 9: Super Sports Cars

LAMBORGHINI Aventador

Category 10: Sports Coupés

AUDI TT

Category 11: Premium Class Coupés

PORSCHE Cayman

Category 12: Hot Hatches / Sedans / Coupés

MERCEDES-BENZ A45 / CLA 45 AMG

Category 13: Compact MPVs & People Carriers

VOLKSWAGEN Touran

Category 14: Large MPVs & People Carriers

MERCEDES-BENZ V-Class

Category 15: Small SUVs & Crossovers

FORD Ecosport

Category 16: Compact SUVs & Crossovers

FORD Kuga

Category 17: Premium Class SUVs & Crossovers

RANGE ROVER Evoque

Category 18: Luxury SUVs & Crossovers

LAND ROVER Range Rover Sport

Category 19: Hybrids & Electrics

BMW i8

Category 20: Light Delivery Vehicles

MERCEDES-BENZ Vito Panel Van

Category 21: Single Cab Bakkies

FORD Ranger

Category 22: Double Cab Bakkies

FORD Ranger

Most Votes Overall – PEOPLE’S CHOICE:

MERCEDES-BENZ V-Class