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African Automotive Adaptation

East Africa is home to a substantial percentage of the continent’s shipping, logistics, and supply chain sectors.

Amid the sectors, and despite their turmoil in the wake of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, East African automotive manufacturing stands as one industry that is both competitive and promising.

“There is a lot of opportunity in East African countries. Although recently impacted by COVID-19, these countries have high levels of GDP growth, and have young, growing populations,” begins Tim Jaques, CEO of Motus Africa.

“There is a strong desire by people to develop and progress in this region which makes investing and working in these countries very rewarding.”
Within the region, the automotive market has established itself as a dynamic and competitive sector and has undergone various changes throughout recent years.

“Dealerships have been subjected to fluctuating market cycles. Each market has its own specific dynamics, but there is a general upturn expected over the next few years in the new car market.”

Jaques started in the automotive industry over 22 years ago. His career path has seen him hold various positions in multiple different automotive companies, and he has overseen sub-Saharan African and Indian Ocean regions for the majority of this time. Within Motus he has held the position of Motus Africa CEO since 2014.

While being a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African listed Motus Group, the company also exists as the parent company of multiple East African distributors and dealerships, with presences in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia.

Motus Africa’s network of owned and independent dealerships has a vast geographical reach operating in each of these countries.

“We sell motor vehicles as well as after sales services and spare parts. We currently represent leading vehicle brands such as Nissan and Mitsubishi, and tyre brand Michelin in selected markets,” Jaques tells us.

“We have customers across all market sectors and given the robust and reliable nature of the products that we sell, are able to assist our customer base over a vast geographical region.”

Motus Group: a closer look

Motus is South Africa’s leading automotive group, employing over 17,500 people. It is a diversified (non-manufacturing) business in the automotive sector with unrivalled scale and scope in South Africa, a selected international presence primarily in the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as a limited presence in South East Asia, and Southern and East Africa.

Motus traces its roots back to 1948, when its founding company Imperial Holdings Limited started as a single motor dealership in downtown Johannesburg. Motus was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in November 2018, following its unbundling from Imperial Holdings Limited.
Motus offers a differentiated value proposition to Original Equipment Manufacturers, customers and business partners with a fully integrated business model across the automotive value chain through four key business segments namely: Import and Distribution, Retail and Rental, Financial Services and Aftermarket Parts.

Motus has long-standing importer and retail partnerships with leading Original Equipment Manufacturers, representing some of the world’s most recognisable brands. We provide automotive manufacturers with a highly effective route-to-market and a vital link between the brand and the customer throughout the vehicle ownership cycle. In addition, we provide motor-related financial services and the sale of accessories and aftermarket parts for out-of-warranty vehicles.

Future of the industry

Motus exists within an ever fluctuating and competitive market. The firm strives to stay above its this competition by adapting to the varying needs of its customer base, and by maintaining its customer-centric approach.

“Motus Africa is a process driven, yet adaptable and flexible organisation that strives for excellence,” Jaques affirms.

“We have been market leaders in East Africa in customer service and in addition to various innovations, were the first Group to offer two year 50,000 kilometres free service plans across the entire vehicle range in all of our East African markets.”

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequential effects across various industries has not ignored East African automotive manufacturing. However, this period has allowed Motus Africa to show its ability as an enabler in the industry with regards to responsibility, safety, and workplace adaptation.

Since the inception of the pandemic period, Motus Africa has fully supported the governments of the countries in which it operates. It had reduced all non-essential operations in line with government-imposed restrictions and guidelines, and limited unnecessary contact through the shift to digital working for those who were practically able.

“Our first priority is the health and safety of our people, our customers and all our stakeholders, including our extended value chain,” Jaques continues.

“We are proactively monitoring the guidance from health authorities and have well developed business continuity plans in place for dealing with such events. We believe we have the teams, the resources, and the experience to navigate through this difficult time.”

And with a vaccine announced with a 95 percent success rate, industries across the board are warming to the idea that things may be returning to relative pre-pandemic normality.

The company’s Kenyan branch is one that represents a great deal of potential for the future of Motus in light of the prospect of a COVID-free industry.

In addition to its existing Kenyan operations, the prospects of the Kenyan market can be further reached through the company’s new dealership branch in Kisumu – the largest city in western Kenya, and an important inland port on Lake Victoria. This area is a valuable trade route linking Lake Victoria to Mombasa and Nairobi.

“By investing in Kisumu, we are ensuring that we are able to offer our customers the very best products and services countrywide,” Jaques explains.

“We are also creating jobs and opportunities in the city. Although many companies have reduced their investment over this difficult period, Motus Africa has a long-term strategy and is investing for the future.”

To aid its operations, Motus maintains key supply chain partnerships that ensure the company can achieve the level of service and success it is known for. A prime example of this is the importance of working alongside entities in the East African logistics industry – businesses that have the know-how to navigate the often-complex environments in which Motus works.

With 2021 underway, this year presents opportunities and growth prospects – Jaques ends on an optimistic note.

“Our market share is strong across the region. We aim to achieve higher levels for the brands that we represent, and to continue to be leaders in after-sales service. We aim to continue to develop our people and offer more opportunities within the region.”

Company values, vision, and missions

Values

To be fair, accountable, driven and ensure that we operate in an environmentally friendly and responsible manner. This includes complying with rules and regulations, dealing at the highest levels of integrity and ethics, and ensuring business practices are non-discriminatory.

Vision

To improve people’s lives by envisioning, innovating and creating new avenues of access to leading edge mobility solutions (products and services) at competitive prices through our strong relationships with suppliers and principals, while ensuring sustainable value creation for all stakeholders. We aim to exceed employees’ and client expectations and become OEM’s trusted partner of choice in the geographies in which we operate.

Mission

To improve people’s lives by envisioning, innovating and creating new avenues of access to leading edge mobility solutions (products and services) at competitive prices through our strong relationships with suppliers and principals, while ensuring sustainable value creation for all stakeholders. We aim to exceed employees’ and client expectations and become OEM’s trusted partner of choice in the geographies in which we operate.