Whilst the economy has the majority of us tightening our belts, the “entry level car” segment in the South African car market is booming; in an effort to provide the consumer with a well-priced “first” vehicle, most dealerships and manufacturers are punting small, economical little cars that still possess basic features to keep the driver happy. In this segment, Renault has produced the Kwid, and seems to have found the winning combination.
I met with Dealer Principal Andre Gouws in the last few weeks, 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 Renault 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.
Sales Representative, Izak Steenkamp, is relatively new to the industry and has two years of service so far. He is vibrant and passionate about selling cars, and has an underlying interest in moving into Financing and Insurance to better serve the community. His own opinion on the Renault (and the Kwid) revolves around the fact that these vehicles are so much more affordable that anything else in it’s segment, considering the amount of standard features on board. With great fuel consumption, he also believes the Kwid is ideal for those first-time buyers who need to keep their on-road costs low.
As for the Kwid, it’s now-familiar curved body shape has become a customary sight on the roads. With distinctive grille styling identifying it as a proud Renault, the Kwid sits on 13-inch wheels and stands at 1.5 metres in height. It has quite a nice ground clearance of 180 mm, and still proves to have ample space in the front of the cabin. Standard features on all variants include power steering, a potent aircon, digital instrument display and remote central locking (which is often absent in other vehicles in this class). Although in entry level variants there is no infotainment system, this can be expected of a vehicle with such a superb purchase price. Top of the range variants come equipped with Sat Nav and a touch-screen system, whilst the entry level derivative (currently on special at BB Hatfield for R1999 monthly) has standard radio, USB/AUX and Bluetooth capabilities. It sits quite comfortably too, and the inside is well dampened against road noise and has stylish cloth upholstery. Impressively fast electric windows are available to the driver and front passenger. For me, the impressive 300 litre boot space is a definite winner in this case – always needing ample space for school bags and groceries, I find particular affinity with the allocated compartment.
Boasting an adorably-ferocious 1 litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine, the Kwid produces a sweet 50 kW and 91 Nm of torque; with a body weight of only 695 kilograms, the Kwid promises to be an incredibly efficient car to drive in terms of fuel consumption, noted at a satisfying 4.7 litres per 100 kilometres. Thanks to this frugal and efficient engine, the Kwid’s emissions rating is also great (112 g/km) and is another reason why this vehicle has become so popular.
Driving the vehicle proves to be delightful too. The precise steering means that the vehicle responds with instant enthusiasm, most especially in the horrific bumper-to-bumper traffic I have to brave daily. With a really great lightweight feel to it, the Kwid is nimble and extremely manoeuvrable in traffic, and – thanks to its compact size – unbelievably adept at negotiating lane changes, stop-go queuing and my not-so-favourite, tight parking spaces.
As far as budget cars go, the Kwid makes an exceptionally good case for itself as a contender in this segment. With all it traits pointing out why it such an affordable vehicle, the Kwid is truly an all-rounder: well-priced, well designed and economical to drive, Renault has certainly outdone themselves in achieving these goals. competing vehicles, and packed with much more than other vehicles. The Renault Kwid entry level Expression variant is currently marketed at R127 9000, mid-spec Dynamique at R137 900, and the top of the range Kwid offering starting at R147 900.
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 Renault is sure to continuing growing exponentially – what a superb and fulfilling experience it has been getting to know this team!
For a closer look at the what this Dealership has to offer, please follow this link:BB Hatfield Renault
Journalist: Desh Bechan
Reporter: Inge Stols
Editor: Belinda Anderson