Nissan East Rand Mall has an experienced Dealer Principal who started out in the industry more than 16 years ago in Tzaneen. Johan van Wyk started out in sales and moved up to management quite quickly, and found himself in the role of Dealer Principal. Having spent time with big brands, such as Ford and Mazda to name but a few, Johan was part of the successful launch of a large-scale Nissan Dealership in Klerksdorp. Now in a Dealership located in a bustling metropolis where the challenges are a little more, Johan feels driven to continue serving the community who are familiar with the Dealership. What strikes me most about Johan is his humility and honesty, which really encouraged a sense of openness and trust which I can only imagine serves him well in terms of building relationship with his clients. Striking me as a peoples-person, Johan believes his team members are assets and states that despite living in a modern era, the best way to approach any industry is by honouring the unique situation of each client.

As an all-rounder Dealership, Nissan East Rand Mall offers a strong aftersales department and a workshop with four dedicated parts-sales vehicles that service most parts of Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and even Limpopo; deliveries to Zimbabwe and Botswana also form part of their after sales scope. By going the extra mile whenever this is needed, Johan is dedicated and this clearly filters down to his team. He summarises his philosophy by saying that the buying of a car can be seen only as a honeymoon, whereas the workshop and aftersales input is what sustains the hypothetical marriage.

New Vehicle Sales Manager Zander Gresse is a charismatic young man who has a vast amount of knowledge about Nissan products and services. It soon becomes apparent why he has moved up the ranks so quickly: starting out as a salesman, Zander displays incredible work ethic and the ability to work hard under pressure. I recognise a true petrolhead when I see one, and Zander’s passion for cars is only shadowed by his massive enthusiasm for dealing with people. Zander attributes his passion for the Nissan brand to the fact that he believes Nissan covers every need in the market with their range of vehicles; with the broadest range of products available, Nissan is also affordable, and the Qashqai is one such vehicle.

Passion for people and particularly the Qashqai radiates from New Vehicle Sales Executive Vanessa Anderson.  Being in the industry for five and a half years, Vanessa finds great reward in fulfilling the needs of her customers and seeing the sparkle in their eyes when they receive their brand-new vehicles. She firmly believes in “doing it right the first time” and to meet the customer’s expectations.

Moving on to look at the Qashqai, I notice that this Crossover SUV is designed to be a combination of the comfort of a family vehicle with the practicality of an SUV. What I like about the Qashqai is that it doesn’t lean either way into either Sporty, or either Comfort, but seems quite a good compromise. The Qashqai has a sharp, sleek design that culminates in the signature v-shaped grille that identifies a Nissan so well. I love the angular headlights that give off quite a posh bearing, and also are so designed as it increases visibility. With a raised ride-height, the Qashqai has the rugged look of an SUV, whilst still touching on the elegance of a sedan. I also particularly like the integrated turn signals in the mirrors, which are eye catching and modern; the standard 19-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels are also a head-turner for sure, and give a nod to the sporty-character I mentioned earlier.

The interior is well finished and has great, high-quality materials for that luxury feel. The seats are electronically adjustable to highlight comfort, as well as impressively scientifically designed in order to reduce fatigue by maximising blood flow around the body. Sitting in the driver’s seat, the vehicle feels spacious and boasts ample head and leg room. There is also a vast amount of boot space (which you can reconfigure in numerous ways to your advantage) and is ideal for my pets, my children’s bags or even a good old shopping spree.

The steering wheel is multifunction and above the steering wheel is a colour display that relays real time infographics to you regarding vehicle systems, caller ID and the like.

The new generation Qashqai is a supremely refined drive with active aerodynamics that reduces drag, increases performance and maximises efficient use of fuel. I love the feel of the vehicle as it handles smoothly with no noticeable body roll. As an added bonus, the Qashqai produces low Co2 emissions (at only 139 g/km for the 1.6 litre variant) and proves to be composed and responsive in terms of handling (thanks to on-board Active Trace Control systems). The Qashqai also comes standard with Active Ride Control which allows for the wheels to be braked independently over rugged terrain, in order to smooth out bumps in the cabin. Taking it up a notch, in the 4-wheel drive variant, the vehicle can also automatically detect slipping on the wheels, and power-up the Nissan All-mode 4×4 iSystem to equally distribute torque between the wheels for better traction control.

Sensors situated all over the vehicle are used to activate safety features on-board as well, and strives to prevent driver fatigue, lane drifting or not braking in time. To my mind, the Qashqai seems to be the ideal family vehicle, lending itself it practicality, functionality, safety and comfort all in one stunning combination. At a starting price that is easily in the same ball park as some hot-hatchbacks, the Qashqai is also affordable and comes standard with more features than many other competing vehicles in its class.

Back at the Dealership, I am once again reminded that the attending team is incredibly well-versed on their products and services. Zander also informs me that the Used Cars division of the dealership have a strict quality assurance process that stipulates that only vehicle within their warranty period are sold as Used Cars. Zander emphasises that buying a used car from this dealership should be akin to buying a new one – each used car on the showroom floor is as close to new as possible, ensuring that the client is supplied with the best possible vehicle for their budget, whether that is new or used.

Anticipating an exciting 2018, Zander notes that there is a new Nissan Micra release in the pipeline, which he believes – with its new futuristic looks – will be a class-leader which he is excited to see launched. For contact information for the Nissan East Rand dealership, as well as information on their available vehicles, follow the link: Nissan East Rand Mall



Journalist: Desh Bechan

Reporter: Inge Stols

Editor: Belinda Anderson