This month we get to know the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of NADA
Brandon Cohen, National Chairperson of NADA
How did you get started in this industry? I was appointed as a Compliance Manager for the F&I business of Associated Motor Holdings (part of Imperial
Holdings) in 2008. How are you currently involved in the motor industry? I work for a leading automotive business involved in almost all aspects of the motor industry. How long have you been a member of the RMI? 15 years. Why do you make time available for serving on the NEC? Automotive dealers operate in a highly legislated environment with new laws, processes, and curveballs emerging almost monthly. Additionally, we operate in a changing world of electrification, new financing processes imposed by the credit providers to the industry, compliance matters, attraction, retention, and upskilling of new entrants to the industry, and a range of other issues. I have
experience and can add value to the NEC in various areas, and being part of the NEC and actively contributing not only assists the industry in which we all operate but also my own employer. What positions have you held during that time and what does your current portfolio include? I have been part of NADA for 15 years. I have served on the NEC, the Motor Retailers Forum, the NADA Management Committee, NADA PR Forum, NADA Legal and Compliance Forum, NADA bank DIC working group, NADA Transformation Committee, and RMI Compliance Committee. What difference would you like to make in your current position? Being a new Chairperson comes with new ideas and approaches, but with the expectation to build on the incredible success of my predecessors. During my tenure, the team is looking to redevelop the NADA website to make it a real resource for the public and our members. We also aim to grow our social media following to quickly disseminate salient information, bring the NADA name and branding to all our members’ premises to create a sense of trust and support amongst consumers so that they can do business with NADA dealers while knowing that they will be treated in line with the NADA Code of Ethics and will have recourse should an issue arise. We want to ensure that NADA acts in sustaining the dealer franchise sector and attracting people to this incredible industry. What value do you think your contribution brings to the public, business owners and the RMI? Having 15 years’ experience in the NADA structures and, to a lesser extent, the RMI brings a wealth of knowledge to the association and our members. Working for a business that operates in six of the seven RMI associations allows for a balanced and unique view of the challenges faced across the whole of the industry. Additionally, my legal and compliance background brings value to the organisation and our members when facing the myriad legal and regulatory changes we are confronted with. What achievements during your time on the committee are you most proud of? Becoming National Chairperson is my greatest achievement, but
in the past, the items that really stand out to me were being part of the core team that drafted and finalised the South African Automotive Industry Code of Conduct in terms of the Consumer Protection Act, the first of its kind in the country and the basis of all auto industry conduct matters (with RMI, naamsa, IDA, NAACAM, and AMID). I also formed part of the NADA/naamsa/RMI team that successfully lobbied the government to reopen the automotive industry under Alert Level four of the COVID-19 restrictions (and was asked to draft the directives to do this). I am a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on second-hand goods and am helping to develop the (yet to be implemented) new regime of enforcement of the Act. I am also working with SARS and experts from the NADA members’ tax departments to continue the taxation of dealer staff company cars on an “average.” What advice would you offer to young people wishing to pursue a career in the motor industry? The industry is the most dynamic industry one could join as it offers academic, operational, sales, technical, and administrative career opportunities. A car dealer alone is six businesses in one and career development and opportunities are available with dealers, manufacturers, sales, after sales, management, and financial services and the trade to name a few. What do you think the biggest challenges will be in the next five years? Above all else, attracting young people to the industry. What hobbies and interests do you have? I am an F1 addict, love football, and enjoy watching a range of other sports. I also enjoy spending my free time with my wife and child.
Thembinkosi Pantsi, National Vice-Chairperson of NADA
How did you get started in this industry? I embarked on my journey in the motor industry back in January 2007, and it has been a significant part of my professional life ever since. At the outset of my career, I took on the role of a pre-owned sales executive. My transition into the motor industry was motivated by an exciting opportunity that arose while I was working in the insurance sector. The dynamic nature of the motor industry and the chance to work closely with vehicles and automotive enthusiasts drew me in, and I haven’t looked back since. This transition allowed me to combine my passion for sales with my growing interest in the automotive world, setting me on the path to where I am today. How are you currently involved in the motor industry? I currently hold multiple positions in the motor industry. I am the Dealer Principal for Hatfield Audi Braamfontein, where I oversee dealership operations. I also hold the position of Regional Chairperson for NADA’s Gauteng Region. How long have you been a member of the RMI? 16 years. Why do you make time available for serving on the NEC? I allocate my time to serve on the NEC for three compelling reasons. Firstly, it fulfils a lifelong dream to contribute at the highest level in the automotive industry. Secondly, it’s a tremendous honour and privilege, acknowledging my dedication to the field. Lastly, I’m driven by a sincere desire to contribute to the industry’s improvement, fostering inclusivity, innovation, and sustainability for the benefit of all stakeholders and the wider community. What difference would you like to make in your current position? I aspire to contribute to making NADA the organisation that both dealers and consumers unequivocally want to associate themselves with. This means working tirelessly to enhance NADA’s reputation as an advocate for dealers, a source of valuable resources, and a catalyst for trust and transparency in the industry. By doing so, we aim to strengthen the bond between dealers, consumers and NADA, fostering a sense of mutual trust and partnership. Secondly, I’m passionate about driving the transformation of the automotive industry. The dynamic nature of the industry demands constant adaptation to evolving technologies, changing consumer preferences, and environmental concerns. In my role, I seek to lead and support initiatives that promote sustainable practices, innovation, and inclusivity within the automotive sector. This transformation involves modernising business models, promoting diversity, and embracing emerging technologies to ensure that the industry remains vibrant and relevant. By focusing on these objectives, my aim is not only to improve the standing of NADA but also to be a driving force in making the automotive industry more customer-centric, environmentally responsible, and future-ready. This benefits not only dealers and consumers but also contributes to the broader progress of the industry and society as a whole. What value do you think your contribution brings to the public, business owners and the RMI? My contribution adds significant value in several ways. I aim to facilitate the change and transformation necessary in the industry. This involves not only adapting to emerging trends and technologies but also ensuring a smooth transfer of knowledge and skills from experienced senior leaders within the RMI and NADA to the younger, energetic generation. This knowledge transfer is vital to preventing the loss of invaluable expertise when senior leaders decide to step down and enjoy their well-deserved retirement. My contribution also underscores the industry’s commitment to inclusivity. By actively engaging with diverse groups of people across our country, I aim to demonstrate how serious the industry is about being inclusive, welcoming individuals from all backgrounds and perspectives. This inclusivity
not only benefits the industry but also reflects a broader commitment to societal progress. What achievements during your time on the committee are you most proud of? One of the standout moments in my tenure with NADA to date was serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the NADA DSI Awards. It allowed me to play a pivotal role in recognising and celebrating excellence within the industry. What advice would you offer to young people wishing to pursue a career in the motor industry? My advice to young individuals aspiring to enter the motor industry is to carefully consider their intentions and approach their career choice with a dedicated mindset. It’s essential for them to make a firm commitment to building a career within the industry. Patience is key and they should be prepared to allow for the development of skills and the accumulation of valuable training over time. It’s crucial to understand that a career in the motor industry is a long-term commitment. Young people should set and pursue long-term goals, recognising that success in this field often involves continuous learning and growth. By staying dedicated and maintaining a focus on their objectives, they can position themselves for a fulfilling and successful career in the motor industry. What do you think the biggest challenges will be in the next five years? Transformation remains a priority. Advancing diversity and equal opportunities, both in ownership and employment equity, requires ongoing efforts. Technological development is crucial. Rapid advances, especially in electric vehicles and connectivity, demand continuous innovation while ensuring consumer trust. Employee retention is a concern in a competitive labour market. Attractive incentives, career growth, and a positive work environment are essential for retaining talent. Policy changes and regulations impact the industry significantly. Staying informed and prepared for changes like AARTO is vital for compliance and efficiency. The evolving relationship with financial institutions adds complexity. Lending changes can affect vehicle sales and financing for consumers and dealerships. Economic challenges, nationally and globally, are ongoing. Navigating economic fluctuations requires strategic planning and adaptability. I feel that the motor industry needs to demonstrate foresight, adaptability, a commitment to diversity and innovation while focusing on consumer needs and economic stability to address these challenges. What hobbies and interests do you have? One of my favourite pastimes is playing golf, which I find not only relaxing but also a great way of staying active and enjoying the outdoors. Additionally, I have a deep love for travelling, as it allows me to explore new places, experience diverse cultures, and create lasting memories. These activities bring a sense of balance and fulfilment to my life outside of work.