It is not very often that I come across a Dealership where the majority of the employees have been with the Dealership, as well as the brand, for more than a decade. Consolidated Auto in Boksburg boasts a Dealer Principal that has over 4 decades of experience in the motoring industry. In my last few interviews with the team at Consolidated Auto, I came to realise that almost everyone I spoke to here has been loyal to the Ford brand, and this particular dealership, for many, many years. Most certainly a reflection of the brand, Consolidated Auto showcased the legendary Ford Everest for my review.
Being the most popular type of vehicle in the world at present, the SUV is no less popular in South Africa, where this stunning vehicle itself is now being manufactured locally. The Ford Everest, like the legendary mountain, has a reputation for being the pinnacle of vehicles in it’s class and there is no better place for me to find out more about it than the dealership in Boksburg. A familiar site to locals who have become accustomed to the reputable Dealership where Ford products and services are proudly offered, Consolidated Auto functions under the experienced leadership of Dealer Principal Neil Boonzaier, and presents the full package to customers, including both new and used car sales, financing and an adept team managing After Care services.
Neil, with forty years of experience in the Motoring Industry, has the aspiration of wanting to maintain the health and success of the Dealership, whilst continuing the learning process and adapting to what the client needs in a holistic way. Although very proud of the fact that Consolidated Auto is the third biggest dealer in the country, Neil laughingly notes that he is looking forward to retirement after so many years dedicated to serving clients. With a work philosophy that upholds continued striving for service excellence, Neil notes that he loves selling this superb vehicle to the public, due to the fact that it surpasses expectations every time. Looking forward to an impending facelift Ecosport, a new Fiesta which is due in the next few weeks, as well as the Dealership’s Saturday Carnival on 2 June, where these new releases will be launched, Neil is excited about the future of Ford in the country.
I touched base with New Vehicle Sales Manager, Johan Vogel, who has almost twenty years of experience in the industry. Ford-lovers seems to be born into it, and Johan himself grew up surrounded by Fords and expanding his passion for the brand straight after school. With a long history in used-car sales as well, Johan is one of those talented individuals who knows his products likes the back of his hand, and is able to get back to clients within minutes with a deal that suits each of them personally, in the best way possible. Noting that the name “Consolidated” Auto implies team work and unity, Johan mentions that this is exactly where the strength of this dealership lies. Working with a team of 15 Sales Executives, Johan is also proud of the fact that there are more female Sales Executives joining their team; he believes the unique, fresh and intuitive perspective which a female journalist brings is vital.
Assistant Sales Manager Sean Ebersohn is equally enthusiastic; with a broad range of knowledge in the industry, having worked with both motorbikes and cars, Sean has spent the past 15 years fulfilling his passion in the industry. A true patriot, Sean believes that Ford is a brilliant product and is superbly proud of the fact that the Everest and the Ranger are both manufactured in South Africa. His Customer Service motto is “meet, greet and treat”, symbolising that he will go out of his way to spend time getting to know his clients, and treating them as he would want to be treated if he were the client. Assistant managing a motivated and diverse sales team, Sean is also thrilled to have some ladies on his team, whose unique perspective he appreciates.
Handing me over to Adrian de Beer, Sales Executive, I prepare to be introduced to the Everest. Adrian has a 23 year history in the industry and has a firm, no-nonsense attitude that he believes will ensure his customers are given everything they need to equip them to make the best decision in terms of purchasing a vehicle. He states emphatically that the Everest is magical, and in his opinion, is the best in it’s class. Releasing the Everest 2.2 XLT 4×2 Automatic to me, he notes that the vehicle has an impressive ground clearance of 240 mm and a wading depth of 800 mm. Seemingly built for taking on challenges, it has an assertive, proud stance and a distinctive no-nonsense appearance. The interior is unbelievably luxurious, with high-quality finishes and a classy feel on the leather upholstery. The cabin is spacious and (much to the delight of my children) there seems to be cup-holders all over the show (as well as arm-rests in the front and second row). There are also two USB ports and climate control in the front and rear, and a very nice, crystal clear touchscreen through which a comprehensive infotainment system is run. On the XLT variant, there is a Sync 3 system that is released with full Satellite Navigation and operated via voice commands. The cabin is extremely spacious, and the boot is cavernous to say the least: with the third row folded up, there is 430 litres of boot space, which can be enlarged to 1050 litres with the second row folded away.
Two unique features to the Everest that I particularly liked, include the microphones in the ceiling panel that pick up road noise and actively dampen it through white noise, as well as the fact that the infotainment system is functional for one hour after taking the key out of the ignition. A host of electronic programmes (including Trailer Sway Control and Rear Park Assist) contribute to the vehicles high safety ratings. Although the seats and their adjustments are all manual (which I would have liked to be electronic in this segment), the incredibly silent start up takes my mind off the negative and I cruise away with a ease.
The powerful engine in the Everest (2.2 litre diesel) kicks out 385 Nm torque and 118 kW of power, yet handles like a smooth sedan. The power steering is also adaptive, meaning that the faster you drive, the “heavier” the steering becomes in order to help the driver maintain control and avoid fly- away, hair-trigger responses. With clients citing fuel consumption as low as 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres (and a huge 80 litre tank), the Everest seems to be getting better with each new kilometre I drive. Even more so to hear that the bonnet, lifted by two hydraulic struts, is easy to open (which is important for a lady like me), although the tailgate by contrast is quite heavy (and not automated). Adrian notes that despite the bulky look of the vehicle, it drives like a dream and seems like a soft sedan in comparison to some competing SUV’s that are blocky and difficult to manoeuvre.
With a starting price of R522 700, this variant is incredibly well priced for all the bells and whistles on board, the superb luxury in the cabin, and the excellent driving experience. Adrian also notes that this is a characteristic of Ford – to produce high quality vehicles that can compete with all the top brands, but beat them hands down with pricing. This is one of the features of the brand that the team loves, which has been served so loyally by all of the team members I interview.
Back on home turf at Consolidated Auto, I learn that this remarkable dealership has customers that travel from Delmas, Randfontein, and even Vereeniging for service and products; thanks to a long history of exceptional customer service and a wealth of knowledge, Consolidated Auto has built up a solid client base and boasts many repeat customers who have become part of the Ford family over the years. Being well-known in the area, the dealership is also a proud supporter of the Lions Rugby club, and provided me with a truly welcoming, and knowledgeable experience. Currently running numerous specials on the Everest, the Dealership website is worth checking out: Consolidated Auto
In the meantime, diarise 2 June, and come and join the Saturday Carnival where you can even meet some of the Lions Rugby players and join hundreds of community members who come to celebrate, visit and make memories as they are introduced to the amazing vehicles on offer here.
Journalist: Desh Bechan
Reporter: Inge Stols
Editor: Belinda Anderson