Consolidated Auto in Boksburg has, this past month, been part of one of the biggest lessons I have learned as a Motoring Journalist thus far. Visiting them with the intention of test-driving the Ford Focus 1 litre Ambiente and catching up with Dealer Princicple Neil Boonzaier and Sales Executive Sean Scott, I was not only warmly welcomed to this sharing of knowledge; I was also given an inside view of the true spirit of the Ford brand.

Sean Scott has 18 years of experience in the motoring industry, 17 of which he has dedicated to the Consolidated Auto Dealership. Already blown away by the implications of that statement, I listened intently as Sean introduced the Ford Focus to me, picking up on his deep-seated passion for the brand, as well as his unbelievable knowledge.

The 1 litre Ambiente variant I drove proved to be a wonderful introduction to the Focus model. Right at the outset, I noted the lovely, smooth lines of the vehicle that seem to merge together in the front to highlight the wide, trademark Ford grille. The rear is modern and sporty, and the car itself looks superb and very stylish. Sean notes that because it touches on both the fresh and youthful aspects of a hatch, as well as the versatile and comfortable characteristics of a family car, the Focus would suit a wide range of drivers. Due to it’s impressive boot space and easy-loading sill, Sean feels that the Focus would be ideal for travelling Sales Reps carrying loads of stock and needing a reliable, easy-to-drive vehicle that also doesn’t exhaust your pockets.

With its punchy 1 litre 3-cylinder engine, it still manages to kick out 92 kW and 170 Nm of torque and maintain a good fuel-consumption ratio. In-town driving has delivered 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres to Sean’s personal experience, whilst the car’s full potential is unleashed on the open road where it drops to 6.8 litres for every 100 kilometres. Sean notes that this, combined with the innovative technology and ergonomic design of the car, is the reason why the Ford Focus is one of the best-selling vehicles worldwide.

Listening to Sean speak, I was in awe of his total devotion to the Ford brand (with his favourite vehicles being the Everest for long-haul comfort, and the Focus ST for it’s pure motoring excitement). As I was ruminating on this, I was introduced to John Kirkland, a 71-year-old motoring veteran who has been committed to the Ford brand for 54 years of his working life now dedicated to serving clients in Ford Parts and Distribution; and I was completely astounded. In chatting to John about his allegiance to the brand, John simply smiled and said, “I wouldn’t still be here if I didn’t believe it was the best”.

I left Consolidated Auto feeling keenly humbled by the impassioned and loyal gentleman I had connected with that day, and in thinking about John’s parting words to me, I feel like I have learned something important as a motoring journalist. Whilst my job is to compare, analyse and often be critical of the products and vehicles in the market, I will always remember the lesson that John taught me: never run any product or vehicle down as they are all vulnerable to man-made faults and weaknesses.

Ford, and Consolidated Auto as their ambassadors, are clearly much more than simply a motoring Dealership. One does not stay connected to a brand for almost six decades if this was not the case.

Hats off to Ford!

By Desh Bechan