11 January 2013

Botswana: Cheap Botswana Imports Affect Local Dealers

As a result of the influx of second hand imported cars coming into the country, many second hand car dealerships have been fighting hard to stay competitive. This week the Economist spoke to the Managing Director of Reliance Motors, Shahid Hasiib a local dealer who had to find new ways of surviving in a now tough market.

"We are not doing too well due to the cheap Botswana car imports. Individuals are buying cars from Botswana and selling them on the road which in turn affects our business."

Hasiib said although business is tight, there is hope as competition leads to competency and when a company sells good cars and provides excellent service, people will always come back. "There must be competition, and with the high number of car dealerships in the market, there must be competition. It is survival of the fittest."

He also said there is a strong misconception from the public on imported vehicles. "In Namibia all cars are imported, the country does not have a car manufacturing site of its own so every vehicle is an import which makes them all equal. The only challenge comes to pricing and the availability of car body parts."

Owned by Auto Craft, a Japanese company, Reliance Motors has been in operation since November 2005 and specialises in new and second hand cars. Augmenting the Windhoek branch are two more, one in Swakopmund and the other in Oshikango from where the Angolan market is targeted.

Hasiib said the Oshikango branch caters for the Angolan market and sales are going well due to the large population of that country. The vehicles they supply are affordable enabling Reliance to post impressive sales of seventy to eighty cars a month while Windhoek is only at ten to fifteen units a month.

Reliance Motors sells all sorts of cars, with the most popular marques being Golf, Polo, and the many Toyota models.

All cars come with a two year warranty, and a 100,000 km or six months service plan. Reliance Motors has its own dedicated workshop at their Windhoek branch where minor repairs are done.

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