Nobody wants to change the winning team

Emmanuel Anyanwu

Emmanuel Anyanwu

Hyra Motors introduced and markets the now popular Geely and Brilliance car brands in Nigerian auto market. In this chat with ol’VICTOR OJELABI, Mr. Emmanuel Anyanwu, the company’s sales/marketing manager, presented an expository overview of the world of Asian made vehicles.

How many years have you been working for Hyra Motors as sales/marketing manager?

I’ve been with Hyra Motors for quite a while. Thank God, Hyra Motors has been around for three years. A company which was duly registered on 13th April 2006, and putting that into consideration, within a short period of time, we’ve witnessed tremendous progress.

As a marketing manager, what has been your greatest challenge since you joined the company?

Well, the biggest challenge has been how to develop a marketing campaign, especially changing the mind-set or perception of the average Nigerians towards the Chinese automobiles. It has not been easy, going by the history and heritage of Asian cars. Most people, of course, know that before now anything out of China was probably not the best. But I can say now that in the Nigerian automobile industry, the Chinese have done well. Given the antecedent, they have just been around for less than a decade in comparison to brands that have been here for quite longer. So I had a serious challenge of building awareness for the brand I represent, that is, Geely and Brilliance Autos. It took a lot of strategic planning to reposition ourselves to, at least, win the confidence of the average Nigerian buyer.

In the last two years, what manoeuvre as a sales/marketing manager has led to your greatest achievement?

Eh, I give all the glory to God who makes man what he is. Well, one particular act that I consider my greatest achievement is my resolution from day one not to give up on Chinese brands. And since I’ve decided not to give up, then I can look back and say thank God for the resilience, the steadfastness and focus. That is the most striking achievement, the fact that I didn’t give up on the Chinese brands.

How have the sales of your brands been like?

In fairness to you, what we’ve achieved less than three years, is probably what someone else has done in five to 10 years with the popular brands. And for this, I don’t want to take credit for it, but to God. We put up many strategies, but victory came from the Almighty. Permit me to be a bit spiritual because that is the ultimate. You know, sometimes you can plan so well, but it is still only God that gives you the grace to succeed. If we compare our stand, I mean in this our gestation period to what was obtainable by most popular brands, I think we’ve done very well.

We have something that most people are becoming very used to, which is the way we deal with them, taking care of their vehicles in terms of maintenance and any other necessary repairs.

In essence, you are saying that facilities like after-sales service attract or help increase your sales volume?

Three things are responsible for the growth of our sales volume, one is the fact that we are appropriately priced. We have offerings that are competitive in price for its range in its category, I can beat my chest to say they are about the most affordable four door salon cars in Nigeria. But that is not the key reason why we’re experiencing growth in sales. I also mentioned the fact that our after sales services are the best; no wonder, we were declared the best new automobile company in year 2007/2008. Of course, there is this other part of us that is becoming the toast of everybody. The parts of our vehicles are just the most affordable. You see, three things make a very good auto deal: performance, after sales service and affordable price. If you can’t buy the car, there is no point thinking about the pleasure you cannot afford.

What about durability?

Durability is all about performance. It is all encompassing. Performance in terms of the car performing below specification, if a car could do XYZ, that is, talking about the basic features. And of course, we look at the fact that this car has been on the road for three years without anybody complaining. Now, I know of some brands, I would not mention their names, which came into this country that couldn’t survive two years. I remember people telling us that in less than a year, all your cars would be off the road. As I speak, our cars have been on the road for much longer.

Aside from Geely and Brilliance, what other brands are in the company’s portfolio?

For now, we deal only in Geely and Brilliance, talking about the saloon cars. But we also have in the pipeline other brands we would be showcasing very soon. These are all other categories of vehicles…

Can you be more specific?

Yes, we are looking at some other categories like truck, saloon cars, and any other category that would attract you to us.

And don’t you think the commitment in trying to sell the Geely and Brilliance would wane, if you digress into selling all these categories you mentioned?

No. You see, Geely and Brilliance having done so well, we would leverage on our expertise. We look at the human resource angle to our business. We have gotten the best hands, satisfying the maxim of the right people in the right place. We also have the will and the determination to move the industry forward. We aren’t just in the business to make profit, we are in the business to add value to basic operations as far as the marketing of automobile is concerned. And that is why we are already in some other West African countries. Our ultimate objective is not just to sell cars, we want to deploy the expertise in technology of those who have been in this thing for decades.

Despite the good looks of Geely and the claims of your marketing department, some users still complain about the durability of some interior components like the door knobs and fragile backrest. What is your take on this?

Well, I am very surprised to hear these because these are not complaints that I’ve documented. If customers do complain, I document it, I don’t know how this complaint came about and where. But between you and I, what we are realistically aware of in terms of customers’ complaints, is that if they travel out of Lagos, they weren’t sure if they would get an outlet to service their vehicle. And we quickly put up more service centres to cater for this. But for the door knob and the rest, I stand to be corrected, there has never been any record on those. No Geely door knob has fallen off and no headrest as dangled as you said. We are in Nigeria where anything is possible, people say all sorts of things because they don’t want competitors.

Okay, all said and done, let’s talk about the new bride, Geely CK2. What makes it worth the noise?

Well, Geely as a brand is worth the noise. And for the new Geely CK2, it gives us joy to have in the stable another version. CK2 1.3GL is an improvement on the former CK 1, which is our fastest selling model because it meets the requirement of an average Nigerian. Bearing in mind the purchasing power, the new Geely is just some few thousand naira above the CK 1. Then, looking at the structural improvement, there are lots of changes. When you look at the interior of the car, the quality of the materials that have been used is much better than what it used to be. The fabric used is easier to clean, while the body boasts of impact repelling material. The CK 2 comes with a lot of things which take the car to the level we can say it is satisfactory.

What is your market projection for the car?

We are looking at over 200 per cent growth in volume because as we speak, the orders we have on ground is about 90 per cent before the final unveiling.

And what do you think is responsible for that?

Actually, as I told you, when you give people what they want, they always want to say ‘thank you’ by being dedicated to the brand. We’ve won the confidence of the average Nigerian users. We’ve represented ourselves very well in giving cars that have performed well, that are durable, the parts are affordable. What else do you expect the man to do but to commend you as far as automobile is concerned. So they are saying, ‘hey! Hyra Motors, we stick to you,’ because the troubles they’ve gone through in the past, Hyra Motors has been able to fill that gap. Nobody wants to change the winning team.

How many cars did Geely sell globally in 2008, and what fraction of it accrued to Hyra in Nigeria?

At this point, it’s like somebody is asking how much profit you made last year. Anyway, Geely has done very well. From the Far East to core Asia, to Europe and Africa, Geely has been able to do well over 45,000 units. And then you see, for us in Nigeria, we are proud to say our contribution to that is commendable compared to the chance we have.

How do you intend establishing dominance of your brands in luxury sport car segment?

The main thing is that we are not driven by passion that is not traceable to reality, but one that is traceable to reality. We would always try not to be left behind in the technology advancement of our auto industry.

Will you allow Nigerian reviewers to test drive your cars?

Sure, we do. In fact, a team of journalists left my office a while ago, and they were here to test drive one of our new models. Well, I believe it is necessary to establish all the parameters, whether it is on emission or transmission. Due to the bad state of most Nigerian roads, whatever facts that might have been recorded for any vehicle, will definitely be attacked by the Nigerian context, which necessitates the need for Nigerian auto journalists to test drive.

What is the company’s corporate service to your customers for the support given over time?

We’ve shown tremendous appreciation to customers in the area of sponsorship by taking part in what they do.

As a dealer and user, what are the challenges one faces in the process of owning a car in this country?

Well, it is very unfortunate that the major challenge people face is that of finance. Now that people desire brand new cars, their paycheck is not brand new. But we have a stop gap measure which is not tailored to satisfy individuals, because you have to be very careful not to incur bad debt. It is called the Hyra Auto Leasing Facility for corporate bodies. We allow them to make down payment of 40 per cent on the value of any car they want, then we spread the balance over six months. This facility is currently being enjoyed by corporate bodies that don’t want to tie their cash from the acquisition of their cars.

And the result?

It has paid off. More orders are coming in, although we have to screen them. All you need is to present a copy of your Certificate of Incorporation, guaranteed from your directors and some other arrangements. The main thing is that at the end of the day, with the presentation of your post dated cheques, you get your facility.

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2 Responses

  1. good day sir,i will like to know more about your geely carykti

  2. good day sir,am a taxi cab oparator in owerri.i will like to know more about your geely car to see it will a good durable,service and maintainance culture.precise i run a taxi scheme.reply me and leave your number. thanks

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