Mercedes-Benz South Africa has announced that Co-CEO & Executive Director Mercedes-Benz Cars Johannes Fritz, who steered South Africa’s top-selling premium car brand since September 2017, will be moving back to Germany to head up Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans in Bavaria – one of the largest sales regions in the German market.
Fritz will be succeeded by Mark Raine, who is currently Vice President of Product & Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Cars in Korea. The move is something of a homecoming for Raine, who grew up in Pretoria before joining Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart in 2002.
Raine has played a key role in driving the company’s digital transformation and further enhancing its brand value in the Korean market, while working to reduce complexity and improve the product portfolio. He previously worked in the company’s Middle East operation, before heading marketing and sales for Mercedes-Benz in Malaysia.
One of Raine’s main strategic objectives will be the successful introduction of the highly anticipated Mercedes-EQ range into the South African market from Q1 2022 onwards. To further drive the future-orientated transformation, essential strategic imperatives include to pursue sustainable sales growth by enhancing the digital e-commerce journey of Mercedes-Benz and its retail partners.
After the activity of the first full day of Qualifier action on Friday, the competitors were keen to catch up on some sleep ahead of another busy schedule on the final day. Just after midnight, though, the night air was pierced by sirens summoning the competitors from their tents to their motorcycles for two more night-time exercises.
They were back in their tents two hours later, only to be woken again at 05:00 for a skills test in the bush. This proved to the warm-up exercise before a hearty breakfast, whereafter the competitors continued with several sand exercises, and tackled challenges to test their resilience on steep hills and corners. One of the exercises played out at the dreaded Wall of Life at the CountryTRAX facility, a deep circular pit set at an angle of about 60 degrees that tested the competitors’ nerves, while battling gravity and a tricky entry and exit point – keeping their motorcycles upright.
The competitors were kept busy until the late afternoon, after which time it was the turn of the GS Trophy 2022 Qualifier South Africa marshals to tally the day’s scores.
Saturday evening’s dinner was followed by the final points ceremony and the announcement of Team South Africa that will compete in the International GS Trophy 2022 in Albania.
Team South Africa for the 2022 competition is: Gerrit du Toit (Limpopo), Dalton de Bruin (Free State), and Warren Venter (Gauteng).
Christelle van der Meulen and Hanneli Zondagh were the highest-ranking ladies after the GS Trophy 2022 Qualifier South Africa. The International GS Trophy 2022 organisers now have the task of determining who will compete in the final women’s teams, based on the global entries received. The announcement of the official ladies’ teams to compete in the International GS Trophy 2022 in Albania will follow.
All-in-all, the weekend’s activities near Amersfoort in Mpumalanga again demonstrated the breadth of skill held by GS riders in South Africa. Once the weekend celebrations taper off, preparations will begin in earnest in the hunt for a fourth consecutive International GS Trophy win.
It was a busy day at the Country TRAX Enduro Park, the site of the GS Trophy 2022 Qualifier South Africa on Friday, 10 September. Everyone had had a good rest after the navigation ride the night before, and the day’s action started immediately after breakfast.
A static exercise on the lawn was followed by various tests of riding skill, teamwork, endurance, and technical know-how. The competitors again treated the organisers and marshals to an awesome display of the finest technical riding despite the tough competition.
After dinner, the scores were announced, and the rankings are as follows:
Gerrit du Toit
Dalton de Bruin
Ruhan de Villiers
Mark Van Rensburg Jnr
Cliff VD Westhuizen
Mark Van Rensburg Snr
Tony Mc Cree
Andrèas van Heerden
Herman du Bruyn
Christelle van der Meulen
Another full day of challenges will be undertaken on Saturday ahead of the announcement later that evening of the five-person Team South Africa to tackle the International GS Trophy 2022 in Albania!
The peaceful farm near Amersfoort in Mpumalanga, ordinarily the home of Country TRAX Off-Road Riding Academy, was turned into a hive of activity this week when the BMW Motorrad South Africa machine rolled in for the start of the GS Trophy 2022 Qualifier South Africa.
Tents were pitched, flags hoisted, cables laid, and catering facilities set up in the preceding days as the farm was transformed into the Covid-secure hub for the 31 men and women who would be competing for a place in Team South Africa for next year’s International GS Trophy.
The eight regional teams, each comprising three members, and the seven ladies started arriving on the afternoon of Thursday, 9 September. With Covid-19 formalities out of the way, competitors were left to prepare their equipment for the weekend’s challenge and familiarise themselves with their individual luxury tents that would be their home for the weekend.
It was at the gala dinner where Penny Sterley, General Manager of BMW Motorrad South Africa officially welcomed all the riders, marshals, and support staff to the GS Trophy 2022 Qualifier South Africa. What followed was to set the scene for the action-packed weekend.
After the initial rider and event briefing, the competitors participated in the first official challenge of the qualifier with a night navigation exercise using a GPS track log.
The night ride was completed without incident by midnight and, just like that, the scoreboard was opened for the rest of the weekend!
It certainly got the competitive juices pumping ahead of the weekend of challenges, set to culminate with the announcement on Saturday night, 11 September, of the five-person team going on to compete at the International GS Trophy 2022 in Albania in the late European summer.
It is notably that time of the year again at which Daimler Trucks & Buses Southern Africa (DTBSA) shines the spotlight on exceptional performing dealerships across the region.
As DTBSA we take considerable pride in our dealers’ exceptional performance as we know what it takes to be at the top in a highly competitive market
– Michael Dietz, President and CEO Daimler Trucks & Buses Southern Africa
On 26 August 2021, DTBSA virtually announced the 2020 Dealer of the Year (DOTY) award winners at the most anticipated and esteemed annual DOTY event. Dealers were beaming with pride as they were recognized and celebrated for sheer determination, passion to succeed and resilience, despite challenging operating and economic conditions.
This year a total of 25 awards in 6 categories were presented in the presence of 130 guests within the business areas of Sales, Parts, Customer Service, Financial Services, and Used Vehicles Support. NMI Durban South Motors – Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Durban deservingly stole the show by walking away with the prestigious Daimler Trucks & Buses Southern Africa overall Dealer of the Year award 2020, for the second consecutive year.
Michael Dietz, President and CEO Daimler Trucks & Buses Southern Africa comments on the winners:“I would like to extend a huge congratulations to all the deserving winners. As DTBSA we take considerable pride in our dealers’ exceptional performance as we know what it takes to be at the top in a highly competitive market. Our DOTY theme this year “Rising Stronger Together” is a celebration of the resolute commitment to excellence displayed by our dealer partners, the ability to transcend and rise above the challenges faced in what was an extraordinary year. We appreciate and value their contribution and absolute dedication to our long-term partnership. Thank you for continuing to push boundaries to ensure that DTBSA brands remain leaders in the region – salute to all the winners”.
Winners in other categories include the following:
Best Sales Performance
Best Sales Performance Mercedes-Benz Trucks:
NMI Durban South Motors – Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Durban
Best Sales Performance FUSO Trucks:
Motus Group, Maemo Motors Commercial Vehicles
Best Sales Performance Export:
Best Sales Performance – FUSO (Export): ZIMOCO (Zimbabwe)
Best Sales Performance – Mercedes-Benz Trucks (Export): Naledi Motors Gaborone
Best Customer Service & Parts
Large Volume Dealer – Sandown Motor Holdings, Sandown Commercial Vehicles Centurion
Medium Volume Dealer – Hallmark Motor Group, New Vaal Motors Vereeniging
Small Volume Dealer – Maritime Motors, Maritime Motors PE Commercial Vehicles
Medium Volume Dealer – Kempston Group, Ronnies Motors Commercial Vehicles
Small Volume Dealer – Motus Group, Maemo Motors Commercial Vehicles
Large Volume Dealer: Sandown Motor Holdings, Sandown Commercial Vehicles Centurion
Medium Volume Dealer: NMI Durban South Motors, John Williams Commercial Vehicles Bloemfontein
Small Volume Dealer: NMI Durban South Motors, Garden City Commercial Vehicles Mbombela
Best Parts Sales Performance Mercedes-Benz Bus
Large Volume Dealer: NMI Durban South Motors – Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Durban
Medium Volume Dealer: Kempston Group, Ronnies Motors Commercial Vehicles
Small Volume Dealer: Motus Group, Mercurius Motors Polokwane Commercial Vehicles
Used Vehicles Support
TruckStore: Motus Group, Cargo Commercial Vehicles Airport
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services
Best Sales Performance MBFS – MB Trucks: NMI Durban South Motors – Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Durban
Best Sales Performance MBFS – FUSO: NMI Durban South Motors – Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Durban
Best Overall Performance
Large Volume Dealer: NMI Durban South Motors – Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Durban Medium Volume Dealer: Hallmark Motor Group, New Vaal Motors Vereeniging
Small Volume Dealer: Stucky Motors, Stucky Motors Volksrust
Large Volume Dealer: NMI Durban South Motors, Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Durban
Medium Volume Dealer: Kempston Group, Ronnies Motors Commercial Vehicles
Small Volume Dealer: Motus Group, Maemo Motors Commercial Vehicles
Many accidents are caused by drivers who are in an inexplicable hurry. While time is vital and we all want to get to our destinations as soon as possible, rushing recklessly from point A to point B is counter-productive.
Think about it, if you are involved in an accident you certainly won’t be arriving at your destination at all, so leaving home/work early, giving yourself adequate time to reach your end-point and exercising patience as you drive is critical and could save your life and those of motorists around you.
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