Customer, vehicle and parts safety
OEMs are responsible for the safety aspects of the vehicles they produce. Our quality control management is therefore more relevant in the later stages of the vehicle lifecycle – vehicle servicing and maintenance, the sale of pre-owned vehicles, car rentals and the import, assembly or manufacture of parts.
All imported vehicle models are subject to a homologation1 process before they are introduced to the South African market. The process covers safety, cost, emissions and parts support for 10 years.
All imported and locally manufactured safety critical products, such as brake pads, must comply with the relevant International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards and SAE International's2 technical standards and recommended practices, and must be approved by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) before they can be sold in South Africa. We maintain robust relationships with all relevant stakeholders, including the NRCS, so that we clearly understand what is required to meet the homologation process standards for vehicles and safety critical parts.
The Consumer Protection Act and the Second-hand Goods Act are key legislations in South Africa that apply to the quality of our automotive-related products and services.
In the UK, vehicles are also subject to a homologation process. In addition, if the vehicle has been fundamentally modified prior to registration (that is, changes have been made to the mass or dimension of the vehicle or that affect the vehicle's safety systems), it must undergo a further individual inspection. The key standard is the Whole Vehicle Type Approval, which includes the National Small Series scheme or Individual Vehicle Approval inspections.
What we are doing
We assist OEMs to maintain their safety and brand standards. For new vehicles, quality checks are conducted prior to their delivery to the dealership and pre-delivery inspections prior to their handover to customers. Our effective recall procedures enable the timeous engagement with customers to ensure their vehicle parts are promptly replaced in the event of an OEM recall. Our warranty departments track claims, component failure rates and recurring problems, providing the importer brands with this data to inform their quality improvements.
The Takata SRS Airbag Infl ator recall campaign, live since 2015, was relaunched in February 2020 to increase awareness. While no complaints have been received in South Africa, Mitsubishi is conducting a voluntary recall campaign as a precautionary measure. It has notified the last known vehicle owners of these potential defects and has provided a VIN checker on its website for owners to check whether their vehicles are impacted.
Taking its efforts a step further, Mitsubishi is currently working with authorities – the Department of Transport (DoT) and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) – and naamsa | The Automotive Business Council (naamsa) to ensure the success of the campaign. It has supplied the VIN numbers of the outstanding vehicles to these bodies, and the RTMC has provided all OEMs with the customer contact numbers it has on record for these vehicles. To ensure the protection of personal information, no other information has been provided. The RTMC sent a mass SMS out to all these customers about the repair, and Mitsubishi complimented this by making direct contact with customers telephonically, giving them the details of their closest dealer.
The airbags in around 9 100 Mitsubishi vehicles have yet to be replaced. Through this collaboration, confirmed contact has been made with over 7 300 owners. The RTMC will again run through its system to find new contact details for the remaining owners. The campaign will continue until all airbags in all Mitsubishi vehicles registered in South Africa have been replaced.
|1||Granting of approval by an official authority.|
|2||SAE International (initially established as the Society of Automotive Engineers) is an engineering standards organisation.|
Vehicle servicing and maintenance
Our OEM dealership service departments use OEM-specified equipment and technology, as well as OEM-certified parts and aftermarket accessories. OEMs provide ongoing product and technical training for customer-facing employees, workshop technicians and quality controllers. This is supplemented with our own training programmes. Workshop tools and equipment are regularly maintained in line with OEM standards, using third-party specialists where required.
Pre-owned vehicle sales
In South Africa, we on-sell the vehicles from our rental fleets, selling quality pre-owned vehicles with up-to-date service histories. The services and maintenance have been undertaken in our own workshops and panel shops or by our franchised dealerships. Vehicle brands also off er high-quality reliable pre-owned vehicles, reconditioned to their set standards. All vehicles have a balance of factory warranty.
Assisting customers maintain safe vehicles
We offer competitive service and maintenance plans as well as standard complimentary roadside assistance to help stranded drivers and passengers. Service plans are also offered on entry-level vehicles and affordable pre-owned vehicles.
Our collaborative customer engagement model not only aims to enhance the customer experience, but extends to providing them with the products and information they need to maintain safe vehicles. Our service campaigns communicate to customers the importance of genuine OEM parts in the continued safety and optimal performance of their vehicles. Special offers such as discounted prices on out-of-warranty service kits and beneficial labour rates, are used to attract out-of-warranty customers and promote the continued use of genuine parts in vehicles.
As part of our customer proposition, we are introducing digital solutions to help customers maintain the safety and roadworthiness of their vehicles and enhance the vehicle servicing experience. Applications vary across brands and include the storing of vehicle data to share between parts, workshop and service providers, providing easy access to service history and service and maintenance plan information; reminders when services are due; communicating information such as recalls, service specials and seasonal campaigns; and in the UK, 60-second videos are available, enabling customers to make quick decisions relating to additional maintenance or repairs.
In partnership with Discovery, we delivered a telematics-based warranty offering for drivers on Discovery's Vitality Drive Programme. The product provides comprehensive and market-leading mechanical breakdown and electrical failure cover. Officially launched in F2021, the offering is being well received. Drivers are able to achieve discounts on their vehicle services as a reward for driving well. The collaborative product is a market first.
Automotive Aftermarket Guidelines
Since February 2017, the Competition Commission of South Africa has been working towards a framework to transform the automotive aftermarket. Under the new Automotive Aftermarket Guidelines (Right to Repair), which came into effect on 1 July 2021, service and maintenance plans must be sold separately to the vehicle, and warranties are no longer automatically voided if a vehicle is serviced by an independent service provider (ISP) or has non-original spare parts fitted. We are in the advanced stages of implementation with external legal advice sought to ensure our response is in line with the requirements of the Competition Act.
Our vehicle sales and finance and insurance sales staff have been trained to ensure that customers understand the implications of opting out of taking a service or maintenance plan. While an important development for customer choice, consumers must also be aware of the risk and possible future costs associated with opting out of service and maintenance plans; not only will they forego the credibility, professionalism and quality of work associated with OEM dealership service departments, but they will be liable for servicing costs and, if they fail to service their vehicle in line with manufacturer requirements, this could jeopardise the manufacturer warranty. When a claim is made under the warranty, the onus is on the customer to provide proof that the required servicing has taken place. Related inspections will take place at an OEM dealership.
Many customers are loyal to a vehicle brand, and given the value and support they receive from vehicle brands even after warranties have expired. Right to Repair is not expected to materially impact customer behaviour in the short to medium term.
How we measure our performance
We subscribe to the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa, which is impartial and recommends resolutions to disputes between the automotive industry and its customers. We monitor all cases reported to the Ombudsman as well as those reported to the National Consumer Tribunal.
Vehicle servicing and maintenance
Random customer satisfaction surveys are conducted to inform quality improvements in terms of workshop servicing and parts. The importer OEMs also conduct their own surveys on our customer service performance, providing an additional layer of assessment.
Technical training is a key part of fulfilling high standards of service, quality and compliance. Training hours and the competency level of each workshop technician are tracked. OEM inspections and our own internal technical audits ensure that OEM standards and targets are met, that agreed training is completed and that the vehicles we service operate safely on the road.
In the UK, the commercial vehicles business and all businesses in the Mackworth Vehicle Conversion Specialists business are ISO9001 certified (quality management system standards). To maintain ISO9001 certification, we use external experts to ensure we implement the processes needed to achieve benchmark levels of compliance, and this is audited as part of our programme of audits to ensure compliance. Shortcomings are monitored on the internal health and safety system for analysis and action. An independent external audit is undertaken annually and a full audit by the ISO awarding body every two years. The Vehicle Certification Agency also conducts quality inspections.
All pre-owned vehicles in South Africa, including ex-rental vehicles, are reconditioned by the dealership they are sold to and undergo a stringent 116-point quality assurance check conducted by an independent quality assurer. In certain instances, customer satisfaction surveys are conducted on the sale of pre-owned vehicles.
In the UK, all pre-owned vehicles undergo stringent physical quality assurance and background checks.
All rental vehicles undergo a 26-point check, applying the SAVRALA1 standards, before every hire. Car Rental has adopted the ISO9001 quality management standards and is working towards obtaining certification.
Suppliers of parts must be ISO/TS16949 accredited, an International Automotive Task Force technical specification (the highest quality standard globally) and are held to strict service level agreements. They are regularly audited to assess product quality and safety, and parts are regularly assessed against manufacturing standards and related regulatory requirements.
The Aftermarket Parts sourcing team also obtains all documentation and certification applicable to the product and country from which it is sourced. For example, products sourced from Europe must have the CE marking, which is the manufacturer's declaration that the product meets European Union standards for health, safety and environmental protection. This is a non-negotiable control when sourcing from Europe.
Measures are in place to closely monitor and manage parts return and failure rates. Where unintended health and safety risks are identified, parts are recalled.
For accessories, we engage with local producers and ensure that accessories are approved by OEMs and have the necessary NRCS certificates and test reports.
|1||SAVRALA (the Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association) is an independent industry body that sets acceptable industry norms for rental vehicles.|
2021 performance and looking forward
- There were no material incidents of non-compliance with regulations and/or voluntary codes concerning the quality, health and safety impacts of our products and services.
Business specific initiatives and highlights
- Over 2 500 Hyundai technicians received training. Service reminders were sent to Hyundai's customers, particularly annual services given that many vehicles did not reach their mileage intervals due to less travel brought about by COVID-19. In the short term, Hyundai will launch an application (app) that reminds customers when their services are due.
- At Renault, 22 technicians successfully qualified at the Cotech level - the highest level of specialisation achievable and globally recognised by the Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Alliance. The programme was successfully converted to an online certification in South Africa that was approved and adopted by the global Renault training academy. The brand also launched the Renault Drivers Club, an aftersales loyalty platform for Renault customers based on the age and mileage of their vehicles. Customers can access their vouchers on a dedicated aftersales WhatsApp platform. Further advancements were made to the service booking function, allowing for a personalised user experience with access to value-added products and services (VAPS) and immediate financing during the booking process.
- Car Rental implemented a document quality management system as part of its ISO9001 adoption. Regular engagements with various departments are conducted to maintain the integrity of the system and documented processes and policies are frequently reviewed. Car Rental is aiming to achieve ISO9001 certification in F2022 (delayed due to COVID-19 and the division's restructure). For now, ISO9001 has been prioritised over achieving environmental management system certification (ISO14001), which continues to be an objective for the medium term.
- Financial Services continued to drive Go Happy in-car insurance, which provides immediate financial relief and personalised benefits based on the number of passengers in a vehicle. The business segment has also completed the development of a roadside assistance app, which is soon to be launched. A key strategic objective for Financial Services is to enhance digital and artificial intelligence capabilities to improve customer engagement and experience, streamline business processes and enhance customer value with new paperless VAPS.
- Passed all external quality and product audits and inspections, and Mackworth Vehicle Conversion Specialists achieved Conformity of Production recertification for a further two years.
Contactless product delivery and demonstrations
In the UK, passenger vehicle retail operations, considered as 'non-essential' services during COVID-19 lockdown, meant that our dealership showrooms were not open for four months. These circumstances provided us with a good learning curve in terms of online vehicle sales, and we conducted our business on a click and collect or click and drop off basis.
Working within government guidelines and advice, the commercial vehicles business offers a contactless delivery service for the UK mainland. We safely deliver vehicles directly to homes or prearranged locations using a transporter or a driver using gloves and seat covers. Customers are offered a socially-distanced inspection period, prior to a sanitised key and document handover.
We also offer contactless product demonstrations as live video calls, enabling customers to interact with specialist in real time. Customers can also request close ups of certain parts or features of the vehicle.
These services are available for both new and used vehicles.
Digital solutions for customers
Innovation represents a growth and profit opportunity for Motus. We have invested in technology to leverage consumer data, enabling us to offer personalised services aimed at enhancing the customer experience and improving customer retention.
The shift in customer demand toward digital channels has been expedited by COVID-19. Our data shows that:
- More than 75% of customer inquiries are from a digital platform.
- More than 55% of vehicles sold by Motus originated on a digital platform.
- Customers used to visit at least five dealerships when shopping for a car; now they visit only one or two.
A McKinsey Automotive Retail Consumer Survey (United States, China and Germany) shows that dealership visits are the number one factor in influencing a purchase decision followed by test drives.
In South Africa, we launched motus.cars in November 2020 – a single, safe and convenient interactive platform that enhances the vehicle buying experience, giving customers the ability to shop online for new vehicles, demos and pre-owned vehicles from Motus dealerships across South Africa. Once a vehicle purchasing decision has been made, customers can apply for finance and have the vehicle delivered at their nearest dealership or home anywhere in the country. From January to August 2021, the number of website sessions was 1 303 164 and there were 782 770 unique users.
The platform has many other benefits such as an easy search facility, a tool to calculate the actual costs of owning a vehicle, and a live chat function, which can assist with questions in real time and connect customers directly to dealerships. It is also possible to book a service from the website.
All listed vehicles are owned by dealerships that are part of the Motus Retail Group. All pre-owned vehicles are dealer-certified with comprehensive inspection reports available on selected vehicles, ensuring that customers get what they pay for. Finance applications are sent to all major banks, ensuring that customers get the best deal in terms of repayments and interest rates. Going forward, we will enhance the website providing consumers with additional services and functionality.
We also launched Motus Select, which replaces the long-standing Imperial Select as a trusted place to buy a pre-owned vehicle. There are more than 30 dealerships and 1 500 pre-owned vehicles in the Motus Select network, making it easier for buyers to find the right make and model to meet their requirements.
Hyundai enabled an end-to-end online vehicle buying experience, allowing customers to explore the Hyundai range, choose the desired model and derivative in their favourite colour, get a 360-degree view of the vehicle's interior and exterior, compare the vehicle to other models in the range, and have the vehicle delivered to their home.
Kia's customer value innovation system is a suite of digital solutions designed to improve the productivity and profitability and the brand's dealerships by meeting the needs of online shoppers and enabling them to stay informed, involved and in control of their vehicle services. Benefits include a paper-free environment, online clocking allowing for accurate productivity measurement, faster vehicle check-ins allowing for real-time vehicle inspection, faster invoicing and the ability to inform customers from the work bench of any additional work required. A total of 17 dealerships have implemented the solution with a further two scheduled for implementation by the end of 2021.
In Car Rental, we are developing technology solutions to streamline and make the rental process more efficient and effective for individual customers. Developments include a web portal, giving customers access to their invoices and statements, and a single platform that will automate and integrate Car Rental's business processes and provide customers with end-to-end self-service capabilities. Self-service solutions are already in place for our corporate clients.