BMW South Africa has established a training academy to assist historically disadvantaged candidates to become dealer principals.
BMW South Africa has established a training academy to assist historically disadvantaged candidates to become dealer principals. The initiative forms part of BMW SA’s current dealer rationalisation and rejuvenation programme.
BMW SA’s managing director, Ian Robertson, recently said the company had rationalised its dealer network from 92 to 57 retailers in the past four-and-a-half years. In tandem with the dealer rationalisation, dealerships had also been relocated in line with population shifts and new dealerships had been opened, Robertson was quoted as saying in .
Robertson said that whenever a dealership had changed ownership in recent times, BMW SA had encouraged the new owner to have a black economic empowerment (BEE) partner.
For example, BMW’s Midrand dealership had Pomodzi Investment as a BEE partner. Its Nelspruit dealership was also a black empowerment dealership while it had black dealer principals in East London and an Asian business representative as the dealer principal of its Auto Glen dealership in Johannesburg.
Robertson said there was plenty of “passive money” for BEE but BMW SA was more interested in the transfer of skills and “real BEE”. However, suitable partners were in short supply.
BMW SA had therefore decided to create a training academy “to help change the face of its current dealerships,” the report said.
Robertson said a dealership at Westgate in Roodepoort had been purchased by Athol Quinn, BMW’s general manager for sales and marketing, with Nelson Sosibo, a chartered accountant inside BMW, as his partner and financial director.
“Apart from being a successful dealer, they will have to also train previously disadvantaged individuals for management positions within the dealer network.
“But it’s not just a training dealership and it will be required to perform to the same standards as all of BMW’s other dealerships despite it having more people than it needs,” Robertson added.
Robertson said the essence of the academy, which would commence on September 1, was the transfer of skills and the duplication of functions necessary to ensure this happened. It was expected that trained candidates would be ceded into the dealer network within 18 months, he added.
“Our key measurement will be how well the trainee performs in the job market,” Quinn said. He said BMW SA would be taking six to 10 candidates a year into the academy, which would lead to about 60 BEE managers or dealer principals in about six years.