AGM report back

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This year’s AGM was a first: never in the history of RMI or MWI have we held a virtual AGM where committee members were elected virtually, but given the restrictions that persist during this time of Covid, online platforms provided a practical solution that helped members of all five regions get together.

It was wonderful to see all the old faces, along with some new ones. Our high participation rate was proof indeed that our members have embraced virtual platforms. Thank you all very much for this show of support.

The meeting was extremely productive: we elected chairs and vice-chairs for each of our five regions, along with new committees to support these appointments. We also appointed a regional training rep for each area, in line with our recent observation that we need to place more emphasis on training. 

I was greatly encouraged to see that significantly more women and people of colour have been voted into key positions. This is a heartening sign that we are on track to meeting our goals of industry transformation and inclusiveness. 

Congratulations to all appointees, as well as our new national chair and vice-chair, who were elected at the National Executive Committee AGM.

MIWA NEC Chairperson: Dewald Ranft
MIWA NEC Vice Chairperson: Deon Goch

Western Cape
Chairperson: Deon Goch
Vice Chairperson: Eric van der Merwe

Eastern Cape
Chairperson: Jack Finn
Vice Chairperson: Teresa Spenser-Higgs

KwaZulu-Natal
Chairperson: Dhaya Naidoo
Vice Chairperson: Shaldon Pillay

Central Region
Chairperson: Andrea Bogner Botha
Vice Chairperson: Nathaniel Lesenyego 

Free State & Northern Cape
Chairperson: Dewald Ranft
Vice Chairperson: Bruno Burri

Right2Repair: Top Tier Sponsor

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Every month, we learn more about one of the top tier sponsors of the Right2Repair campaign. In August, we shed the spotlight on HELLA Automotive South Africa.

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HELLA Automotive South Africa Head Office

HELLA Automotive South Africa

HELLA Automotive South Africa (Pty) Ltd. is the local operations office wholly owned by HELLA GmbH & Co. KGaA based in Lippstadt, Germany. It is situated in the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape. The local office has been servicing the sub-Saharan Africa market for over four decades.

With a proud heritage of over 100 years of German engineering, HELLA is one of the top 100 industrial companies in Germany, and one of the top 40 automotive suppliers in the world. A growing company with a global footprint of 125 locations in 35 countries, HELLA globally has a product portfolio of more than 60 000 products, of which about 5 000 are currently stocked items.

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HELLA Automotive South Africa Head Office warehouse

HELLA’s Business activities within South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa are divided into two segments: Aftermarket and Special Applications:

Aftermarket

HELLA offers an extensive range of vehicle-specific parts, universal parts and accessories to the aftermarket. This is supported and servicing key segments, including automotive lighting, electrics and electronics.

The automotive lighting division’s product range includes vehicle-specific headlamps, bulbs, indicator lights, auxiliary lamps and work lights. The electronics business division comprises the product areas of energy management, driver assistance systems, body electronics and access systems, sensors and actuators, steering electronics and lighting electronics.

Special Applications

In the Special Applications division, HELLA develops, manufactures, and distributes lighting technologies and electronic products for a range of different special vehicles such as mining, construction, and agricultural machinery, buses, caravans and marine vessels as well as for various small-volume manufacturers such as those producing electric vehicles.

For product-specific related queries please visit www.hella.com/techworld/za/ 

Right2Repair needs your eyes and ears!

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Kate Elliott, CEO of Right to Repair.

Kate Elliott, the newly appointed CEO of Right to Repair, is doing an amazing job proactively ensuring compliance with the Guidelines and educating consumers. This month she asked us if we could include a special message for all our MIWA members.

It’s been almost two months since the Competition Guidelines were implemented, and we’ve made great progress in educating consumers and creating awareness. That said, we still have a lot more work to do – and we’re relying on you to get it done! One of our key priorities is ensuring that manufacturers or dealers who are not meeting our stringent requirements are brought in line. We rely on consumers to alert us of these operators – so, if a manufacturer isn’t helping you by providing technical information or software, please do let us know. We’ll do all we can to assist. Contact us on 021 551 1257 or email kate@r2r.org.za.

In addition to the work Kate and her team are doing, I would like to remind all MIWA members that it is also up to each and every one of us to educate our customers and ensure they are clear about their right of choice.

Five things your customers should know about their cars

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Obviously, you don’t expect your customers to know everything about cars – if they did, they wouldn’t need you! However, there are so many glitches and bigger issues that could easily be avoided if they only knew a little more. Here are some of the top five things your customers need to know if they want to avoid big bills at their next service:

  • Maintenance schedules are critical. Services are like medical check-ups – sure, you could (maybe) go without them, but you’re doing more harm in the long run – and you’re likely to incur more expenses, too. A trusted, and of course MIWA-accredited workshop can help motorists avoid many of the expensive repairs that come about through neglect.
  • Warning lights shouldn’t be ignored. It’s easy to pretend that service lights or cluster messages will go away, but the opposite is true. Motorists who choose to disregard what their car is telling them are likely to damage key parts, which will be expensive to repair or replace. Any flashing light should be treated as an emergency. The motorist should stop driving the car immediately, and have the issue seen to as soon as possible.
  • Services are not negotiable. Even cars that appear to be running well may be hiding a niggle somewhere. Servicing the car regularly allows you to pick these up before they turn into major issues. Regular services also allow you, as the repairer, to focus on the different parts that need attention, according to the manufacturer’s technical specifications.
  • Cheap can be nasty. Although everyone is trying to cut costs right now, consumers should find avenues to save besides their cars. If a customer queries costs, point out that as an accredited MIWA workshop, your trained mechanics have access to all necessary diagnostic tools and can provide superior service.
  • The quality of your oil matters. Using a quality oil brand can increase the longevity of a car’s engine, while poor quality oil can lead to sluggishness. Always advise your customers if they need help choosing a brand.

Harness spring’s positive energy

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It’s been a long, hard winter – but, thankfully, it’s behind us. As blossoms start popping up all over, it’s time to harness the positive energy that spring brings. Here’s how:

  • Try something new. One of the reasons winter is such hard going is because it smacks of the same old, same old: no one wants to leave the house when it’s icy outside (even if there are no lockdowns), so you’re not exactly having fun and making memories. Now that we have looser restrictions and days are longer, try doing something new: run a different route, try a new coffee shop, do something in the evening besides binging on tv series. Novelty is a pleasure all of its own.
  • Lighten up. No one is expecting you to be an example of perfection, so stop being so hard on yourself. So you made an admin error at work and your parenting wasn’t the best it could be today: make amends, learn from the experience, and move forward. Go easy on other people, too – we’re all just doing the best we can.
  • Ditch negativity. We all have those friends who like to share the latest horror story and thrive on drama. The problem is that it’s easy for their negativity to seep into your own life. Rather spend time with people who are intent on finding the best in a situation.

Service plans, maintenance plans and warranties – what’s the difference?

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Now that customers can choose where to have their cars serviced, they might have some questions you weren’t expecting – like, what’s the difference between a service plan, a maintenance plan and a warranty? Here’s a simple explainer.

  • A service plan covers the manufacturer’s service schedule, including parts which are typically replaced during a scheduled service – think oils, filters, spark plugs and air filters. This means that parts like brake pads, v-belts, brake linings are for the vehicle owner’s expense, as are internal and external trim, body work and paint due to normal wear and tear, all glass, tyres, wheels, wheel alignment, accessories, electrical wiring components and additional maintenance that may be required as a result of the vehicle being operated in severe or unusual conditions. Service plans further exclude maintenance that may be needed as a result of modifications made to the car, or that may be needed because of accidents, abuse or misuse; a failure to use the car as stipulated in the vehicle service book; or that have come about through failure to stick to the maintenance schedule. Although service plans used to be incorporated into the price of the vehicle, consumers are now able to choose whether or not they want to purchase one.
  • A maintenance plan covers regular, scheduled services, as well as specified wear and tear on parts. Labour costs are also covered through this plan. This means that if the repair or part is not typically included in a regular service, it might be covered in the maintenance plan. The customer needs to check which items are covered by the plan with the car manufacturer where they purchased the car.
  • A warranty is provided by the car manufacturer, and provides insurance against the failure of vehicle mechanical breakages. New cars come with a standard warranty, but this becomes void if repairs on warranty parts are carried out by any party besides the manufacturer. Car owners can choose to extend the warranty once it has run out. Meanwhile it is important as a workshop owner to remember that warranty parts must be repaired by the OEM. The OEM cannot void a warranty if the vehicle has been serviced correctly at an independent service provider who conforms with the manufacturer specifications.

MIWA in the media, August 2021

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Check out this month’s media coverage. August was Women’s month and it was great to see some of our wonderful and inspiring ladies that are doing great things for MIWA featured in the media.

Paarl Post
Replace or Repair? That is the windscreen question

Automobil
A women’s touch for the motor workshop industry

Auto Forum
Five things your mechanic wish you knew

IOL
WOMEN’S MONTH: Simphiwe Mncube turned disappointment into her dream

IOL
WOMEN’S MONTH: A female perspective on running workshops in South Africa

From the Director’s Desk, August 2021

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Spring is all about renewal – and I am sure I am not alone in thinking that we could all do with a new lease on life! After a difficult few months, the longer days are certainly making us feel a lot more positive and ready to make the most of the year’s remaining months. If you need any inspiration in this area, be sure to read up on our tips for harnessing Spring’s energy.

On the subject of all things new, a big congratulations to the chairs and vice-chairs who were recently voted in at our AGM. Thank you to all of those who took part in our first virtual event. We appreciate and greatly value your time and contribution and the valuable role you play in developing our industry. 

This month, we’re also talking about helping your customers boost their knowledge about their cars, explaining the difference between service, warranty and maintenance plans, and sharing some information from Right2Repair.

On a more personal note, I am very pleased to let you know that I have had both my vaccinations, and am really enjoying the peace of mind that comes from knowing that I have done all I can to protect myself, my family, my friends and my colleagues from Covid-19. Nothing is more important than our own health and the love we have for our family, and the respect we have for the wellbeing of our colleagues. Unfortunately, we can see in the media that the vaccination rate is still very low. 

The pandemic has come at a huge cost for so many of us and getting the vaccine is the first step to bringing this virus under control.  I really encourage each and every one of you to lead by example and encourage your employees and loved ones to get vaccinated.

Finally, as Women’s Month comes to an end, I’d like to acknowledge all MIWA’s wonderful women for their hard work, and the massive contribution they make to our organisation through their expertise. I couldn’t be prouder to see the many profiles which appeared this month in the media celebrating our exceptional women. 

Let’s embrace this new season.

Pieter Niemand,
MIWA National Director