Whenever I find myself on my way to the Volkswagen Dealership in Kempton Park (VW Airport), I not only feel a rush of excitement to see what they have in store for me, but also a feeling of contentment – this feeling is only amplified when I enter the premises and feel the wonderful warmth radiating from every staff member that I meet.
Michelle Chatikobo has been a New Vehicle Sales Executive for the past two years; a deceptively small and petite little lady, Michelle showed me her assertive side when – mid-interview – she had to excuse herself for a moment to hand over a brand-new vehicle priced at well over a million rand to an excited client. I was left grinning at this exchange, noting that despite her slight stature, Michelle is most definitely dynamite in a small package, with a charming humility that really made me feel comfortable, and clearly is appreciated by her clients. I also note that her confidence in navigating this cut-throat industry is reminiscent of her mentor and fellow female motoring enthusiast, Smita Odhav, the Dealer Principal; both these women seem delicate and fragile at the outset, but have made good names for themselves as being tough-as-nails, go-getters in the industry.
Being a family woman, Michelle’s favourite VW currently is the Tiguan – however, she is a passionate believer in the unique attributes of each vehicle on the showroom floor. Originally from Zimbabwe, Michelle is not only excited due to the recent resignation of a certain African Dictator, but also because she is introducing me to a VW legend which she believes is literally just getting better with every generation: the gorgeous Golf GTi 7.5 2litre Turbo TSI. Being the most successful model of all time, the VW Golf GTI’s introduction to South Africa in 1976 brought with it a greater energy and vitality to the market. Impriving electronic systems, comfort levels and dynamic performance with each generation of Golf, VW has dominated the market segment for performance hatchbacks in South Africa and remains one of the most popular vehicles on the road today.
Right off the bat there is no denying the solid good looks of this car – it is stunning to behold, with a definite cheekiness in its sporty design. The classic VW Golf look is still there, but with a great deal of sleek modernisation. Having grown up as a VW fan, I always feel a sense of familiarity and confidence in the VW design, and although the new Golf has been substantially refreshed, it still carries that special VW swag that makes me feel at home – which is something the VW Airport dealership portrays as a whole.
The Golf is nothing short of impressive in every respect. The interior is classic German efficiency, wrapped in high-quality leather and luxury from the dashboard (which I note is now angled toward the driver for maximum convenience) to the multifunction steering wheel, and the comfortable, supportive seats. Every tech-feature to mention is in place here, with all the expected class-leading safety features too. The automatic gears shift without a hitch and I find the car to be extremely responsive (fuelling my inner race-driver for a fleeting moment on the highway) and satisfyingly eager to please. It is light under my touch, yet handles with confidence and excellent grip. Best of all, the powerful engine that is so well-known for it’s great power output is barely audible in the cabin.
The Golf GTI is designed to perform – and perform, it does. It accelerates assertively, swallowing up miles with practised ease; and yet, as I sit in the driver’s seat, I feel enveloped in luxury and comfort, enjoying the soft-touch of the car’s steering and handling, an aspect I particularly like: I love the fact that such an incredible machine can still be designed to roar, but also give off opulent comfort at the same time.
As I think about it, my driving experience in the GTI is very metaphorical of my relationship with the brand as a whole. I have come to expect nothing less than excellence from VW, and I have been proudly blown away by every VW thus far. The brand stands for quality – both in performance as well a comfort, which is effectively epitomised in the gorgeous Golf 7.5 GTI.
Having had the time to witness the exchange between Michelle and her client, I can only conclude that not only is the product of superior quality here at VW Airport, but the importance of treating clients like family and upholding their interests as a priority is clearly firmly etched in the minds of every staff member I come into contact with here. As always, I enjoy my time at this dealership, I enjoy learning about the vehicles they have on show from their competent team of Sales Executives, and I also enjoy the atmosphere of comradery that always lingers with me after I leave. Having enjoyed my experience with the Golf 7, I look forward to the next opportunity I get to go back to this dealership.
For more info on this dynamic and legendary vehicle, as well as other amazing deals, click on Volkswagen Dealership in Kempton Park
By Desh Pillay Bechan