Last year I had the chance to drive the BAIC D20 Sedan (1.5 Auto Fashion), which I found to be an unbelievable and practical vehicle; really having surprised me and enlightened me to the incredible offerings from this brand, I was thrilled to meet with the team from BB Hatfield BAIC this last week, and learn more from them.
I met with Dealer Principal Andre Gouws last week, who – with an incredible 21 years of experience in the motoring industry – blew me away with his incredible philosophy on Customer Service and really bringing true meaning to client care. Believing in the “personal touch” as far as customer service goes, Andre notes that BB Hatfield BAIC is fully committed to developing and maintaining professional, trust-based relationships with every client. Being very proud of the fact that numerous customers come back for more products and services, and often request certain team members by name, Andre believes their philosophy on prioritising the client has created a firm foundation that underscores the great reputation this dealership has. Andre adds that he has invested a great deal of time and effort in identifying the right team members, placing them in the right role in the Dealership, in such a way that they are doing the right job, in the right way. In the last 14 months, this was manifested in a focus on staff training and nurturing a customer-centric perspective; the team as a whole believe that the success of their Dealership hinges directly on the happiness and satisfaction of their customers.
Introducing me to Stephan Schoeman, the Sales Manager at BB Hatfield BAIC, I learn that the BAIC, Suzuki and Renault brands are what drew him in to working at this dealership. With 7 years of experience in both new and used vehicles, Stephan emphasises that he has been passionate about motoring and vehicles since his school days, and being able to do this job feeds into that on a daily basis. Working with people also comes naturally to Stephan, and as such, notes that the customer is the most important person in the “dealership world” and so he strives to make sure that the relationship he forges with his clients will urge them to come back to him directly for every aspect – this means services, workshop and parts requirements and complementary products too. He is also very proud of their impact on the community, and having bought in to becoming involved in local school fundraisers in terms of donating prizes, feels that this Dealership is already making its mark on the greater Pretoria.
Lauren Thomson, the Sales Representative for BAIC shares with me that she is in the privileged position of being relatively new to the industry (having started in the industry only a year and a half ago) and being able to harness the energy and excitement she feels, and channel it into her work. Being drawn in by the idea of seeing satisfaction from clients as they make the big decision regarding a vehicle purchase (which is one of the biggest decisions one can make, barring marriage and buying a house), Lauren feels that the brand is superb. The Chinese head-office provided thorough, in-depth training for her and the team, and this must be seen as a manifestation of confidence in the product and the brand itself.
Lauren notes that in terms of the D20, with its longer wheelbase, it is a spacious and comfortable vehicle (which is important to her as she is tall herself) and packed with features; being much better priced than its competitors, the D20 is perfect for the young professional who needs a reliable and affordable vehicle with all the features at a price that will not break the bank.
The D20 comes in hatchback and sedan models, and both are equally attractive designs. BAIC has done a superb job of styling the vehicle with fluid, languid lines and a bold grille design. The interior is equally lovely, with high-quality cloth-upholstered seats and a cock-pit reminiscent of luxury sedans and SUV’s. The variant I am driving has a comprehensive infotainment system, climate control and a sunroof (which is always a plus point for me). Standard features on all models are fantastic, and you get more bang for your buck with this vehicle than most other’s in its class: electric windows, rear-park assist, ABS with EBD, Isofix seat mountings, height-adjustable driver’s seat and auto headlights. Airbags are also standard safety features and the legroom (especially in the back) is extremely liberal – making this a great family vehicle.
The Sedan variant is released with a 1.5 litre naturally aspirated engine which provides a satisfying 85 kW and 149 Nm of torque, meaning his vehicle is capable of good power supply whilst still providing great fuel economy. Lauren notes the fuel consumption is tipped at 7.3 litres to 100 kilometres for this variant, with even better results on the 1.3 litre engine models. This is, of course, a massive benefit in the current economy and with fuel prices set to rise yet again this festive season.
The ideals of providing great quality vehicles at affordable prices is what the Dealership strives to uphold, and Lauren notes that her time with BB Hatfield BAIC has most certainly proved that car dealerships can and do prioritise the client. Caring doesn’t end with the purchase of a vehicle at BB Hatfield BAIC. Extremely generous warranties and service plans (which include a first service free) are part of the BB Hatfield BAIC experience and it has become clear over the months that I have worked with this team, that ensuring your happiness as a client – and as part of the family – is their core business.
With a 100% open door policy, Andre Gouws, Dealer Principal re-affirms his commitment to the Customer by sharing with me that when I client was not satisfied with a particular product or service recently, he personally took the time to drive with them in their vehicle, and oversee the complete repair of the situation thereafter. With a hands-on, invested and involved DP such as this, BB Hatfield BAIC is sure to continuing growing exponentially – what a superb and fulfilling experience it has been getting to know this team!
By Desh Bechan