Entrepreneurship. One of South Africa’s strengths, in my opinion, is the ability of our society to create small businesses or start a business venture from the creativity of their own minds. In thinking of a new business that is just starting out, the need for a practical, functional and reliable vehicle springs to mind. Datsun have really come to the party with this in mind and have released their GO+ Panel Van specifically to meet this need.
BB Hatfield Datsun, situated in Pretoria, showcases both Nissan and Datsun brands; headed by a Dealer Principal who is known for being focussed and having clear direction, Marcel Moolman manages this dealership with a great deal of passion. Humility has served him well and as a result, these admirable traits have also extended down to his team who strive to make quality vehicles at low prices accessible to all. Marcel’s belief is that the motoring industry is not only about cars, but also about people and a genuine sense of caring about the happiness of clients is what has undoubtedly lead to the success of this dealership.
Following in the footsteps of the Dealer Principal is the likes of Madelein White, team leader for brand, who impressed me with her length of service in the motoring industry. With sixteen years in total, the last five years of her career have been dedicated to this Dealership where she can utilise her skills of effective communication and identification of client needs to the best of her abilities. Thriving on the delight which customer’s experience when they buy their first vehicle, Madelein’s goal is to help people achieve their dreams in terms of identifying the best vehicle for them.
A sunny, vibrant addition to the team at BB Hatfield Datsun is Rebone Machacha, the Sales Representative who takes pride in having started her five-year career with this Dealership. With a deep love for meeting new people, Rebone believes that understanding the different personality types and idiosyncrasies inherent in customers is the key to making authentic connections with her clients. What strikes me most about Rebone is her enthusiasm to learn more and grow in her capacity for service, and as such her strategy is to ensure that every interaction she has with her clients is memorable. Noting that this Dealership is like a second family to her, Rebone smiles as she recollects how the entire team of staff rallied around her to celebrate the birth of her first child.
Affectionately seen as the Panel Van Guru, Rebone is eager to share her knowledge about the GO+ Panel Van with me. Already extremely popular with small businesses and delivery companies, the Panel Van promises to be versatile and user-friendly, and can carry you and a passenger, leaving the entire rear section available for cargo. Large, loading doors in the rear and on the side make access to cargo space really easy, and provide ample room for boxes, luggage or products. Specially designed to also still be able to fit into an average garage space (with a total length of 3.995 mm and width of 1.635mm), The Panel Van adapts to your lifestyle and will most certainly add value to your business.
With an interior that is (for all intents and purposes) the same as the Datsun GO+ and Lux variants, the only noteworthy differences are that the gear shift and parking brake are now situated on the upper portion of the dashboard to make more space between the driver and passenger. An uncluttered, modern dashboard has all the basics, although there is no radio/CD player; an on-board docking station for your smartphone allows you to connect via AUX cable and still manage your audio needs. There are no touchscreen or SAT NAV options, but other thoughtful features such as the “follow me home” illumination system provides lighting for you as you exit the vehicle and walk away. It is also worth noting that the Panel Van has intelligent wipers and long-range headlamps, and that in response to the safety rating hiccups recently, the Datsun GO and its variants have been redesigned to give more attention to improving this. As a result, a driver’s airbag is now standard, and a passenger airbag can be added on additionally at extra cost.
The Panel Van has a 1.2 litre petrol engine, mated to a manual gearbox that produces 104 Nm of torque and 50 kW of power. Even fully loaded, the Panel Van is said to still hit 100 km/h in a little over 13 seconds, adding a little bit of zip to your daily deliveries (although definitely not being designed to take on the racing scene). Continuing with the Datsun philosophy of remaining affordable and being easy on the pocket, the Panel Van also boasts low fuel consumption: Rebone notes that 5.2 litres can be expected per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle, and very low CO2 emissions come standard as well.
The Panel Van, although in my opinion not particularly handsome, is said to have a very comfortable drive with good stability and handling abilities. A stiffer suspension setup and higher ground clearance makes it ideal for carrying heavy loads too. With a starting price of R152 500, the Panel Van is being snatched up for its practicality, versatility and affordability, and it makes sense why it features so well for small businesses and the like.
BB Hatfield Datsun is the result of a 5-decade legacy from the BB Group, with an excellent track record in creating long-lasting relationships with clients by promoting New and Used vehicle of the highest quality. Offering Parts and Servicing through their Workshop as well as in-house Financing through the Finance and Insurance Department, the BB Hatfield Dealership can be followed on: BB Hatfield Datsun
Editor: Desh Bechan
Reporter and Author: Inge Stols & Belinda Anderson