M+Z plans N$100m centre

Business 9 sept 2016The Metje + Ziegler Group (M+Z) plans to invest N$100 million in the construction of a new showroom and service centre for Audi and Volkswagen in Suiderhof, near the Auas Valley shopping centre in Windhoek.
The motoring group has already concluded the acquisition of the land on which the showroom will be developed, with construction set to begin when the company receives approval from Audi and Volkswagen AG, the franchise owner of the two brands to be housed at the proposed centre.
“The acquisition of the land has been concluded.  Once the plans for both brands have been finalized, they need to be approved by Audi and Volkswagen AG.  This will still take a couple of months.  Only then can we start with the planning phase of construction,”   M+Z Managing Director, Verena Grüttemeyer, told the Windhoek Observer.
When completed, the centre will consolidate the operations of Autohaus and Audi Center.
“The M+Z Group operations to be consolidated on that specific site would be Autohaus Windhoek, including VW passenger and VW light commercial vehicles and Audi Centre Windhoek.  For both Autohaus and Audi Center Windhoek, we will accommodate new and pre-owned vehicle sales, parts sales and workshop facilities,” she said.
“The consolidation of our brands will, to a large extent, increase the ease of doing business with us, as all product offerings would be under one roof.   It will also provide economies-of-scale advantages improving back-office operations such as administrative functions, IT and others.”
Grüttemeyer said water availability will also impact on the timeline for the construction, as the country’s central areas, including Windhoek, face a water crisis, with most supplying dams now at critical levels.
“As good corporate citizens we obviously need to take cognizance of the current water shortages as this will influence the timeline of our development,” she said.
The M+Z MD further said that there will be no job loses from the consolidation of Autohaus Windhoek and Audi operations.
“We envisage that all staff members will relocate to the new site and hopefully growth will result in hiring new staff members,” she said.
The development comes as local car sales have remained depressed this year, declining by an average 22 percent within the last 12 months. 
Grüttemeyer said the downturn in the automobile industry is of course very concerning.
“However, a capital investment in a motor vehicle dealership is a long term decision and we have to be prepared for the recovery period of the business cycle,” she said.
“The global automotive industry is about to enter a period of wide-ranging and transformative change, as sales continue to shift and environmental regulations tighten. To capture future growth we need to address changing consumer demands and include these in our key strategic decisions and priorities.”
Government, the biggest buyer of cars locally, has put a moratorium on acquisitions, as it seeks to cut down on expenditure, a position which will also impact negatively on the sector.
Car sales are further expected to feel the pinch of the amended Credit Agreements Act, which came into effect at the beginning of last month.
The Act, which was originally promulgated in 1980 to regulate the credit on movable goods/vehicles that are leased or bought on credit, was amended to place restrictions and thresholds on the percentages to be paid as deposit on each category of moveable goods purchases, as well as the maximum repayment period.
Customers that want to purchase movable goods on credit will be restricted to a maximum repayment period of 24 months, with the exception of motor vehicles, which have a maximum repayment period of 54 months.
The Metje + Ziegler Group is the approved supplier of Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Mitsubishi, Freightliner and FUSO range of vehicles in Namibia.