Big brands join Village Motors

Published 5:00am 19 January 2023

Big brands join Village Motors
Words by Kylie Knight

Village Motors has welcomed two big new brands to the family, with RAM and LDV now part of the fold.

Village Motors Sales Manager for RAM and LDV Ross Willson says they complement the other brands on offer at the North Lakes-based dealership.

“At the southern end of the Village Motors site, we’ve got GWM Haval and Chevvy and GMSV – you’ve got the Chinese brands and the big American tanks down there and then you’ve got LDV and the big American tanks up here at the northern end,” Ross says.

“It is a one-stop shop. We have a lot of people saying I’m comparing the Silverado and the RAM … they don’t have to go far.

“It’s the same with GWM and LDV, with the ute variant, they work well together. Each has their strong points and at the same time, we’ve also got Nissan … you’ve got the higher end in the ute range as well.

“It has been working really well and we’re only two and a half months in now.

“RAM has a few models in the line-up – Express, Warlock, Laramie, Limited, TRX, and the big 2500 and 3500s built for a purpose, especially for the Australian market because of the towing capacity.

“The 1500 range pretty much covers a 4.5 tonne towing capacity, which is really good across the board for everyone here who likes to buy big caravans … once they load up those big caravans they have to tow them with something. The traditional vehicles people buy just aren’t big enough.

“The market is certainly there for that. Some of the bigger ones, the 2500, can tow up to eight tonnes. They are monsters.

“Then you’ve got the TRX model, which is the fastest truck in the world 6.2L supercharged … it’s phenomenal.”

LDV is one of the oldest automotive companies in the world. Its first vehicle in 1896 was a 1.5-tonne, steam-powered van before a series of mergers with other stalwarts of the British automotive industry resulted in it morphing into Leyland DAF in 1987.

LDV joined the SAIC Motor family in 2010.

Ross says LDV has a big range of commercial vehicles including D90 SUV, T60 MAX Ute, Deliver 9 (Van & Cab Chassis & Bus), V80 Van and G10 Van.

“They’re also about to release MIFA, which is a seven-seat people-mover. It looks like it should shake the market up. There’s not a lot of competition out there. There’s the KIA Carnival but that’s really about it,” he explains.

“It looks really good. They’ve also just released the full electric range. LDV is the first to bring out a utility in an electric spec in the country. They also have the MIFA 9 which is an electric people-mover and the e-deliver 9 which is an electric commercial van.

“Someone had to test the waters for that sort of range and LDV are in there to do it.”

He said a massive portion of electric vehicles in the world were built in China including some of the biggest brands.

“LDV offers great value for money, quality and power in the T60 range is up there with some of the best in the class. It makes the other brands have to look at what they’re doing.”

Meet the team

Big brands join Village Motors

Ross Willson, Sales Manager for LDV and RAM

What is your background?

Seven years as the co-owner of Beardy’s Bar and Kitchen at Kippa-Ring. We had a great little following there and I certainly do miss it. Prior to that I did 10 years with Chrysler Jeep and Dodge which is a similar product range to what we have now.

Why are you passionate about these two brands?

RAM is the class leader in America for what it is. There’s always competitors in the F-truck, Tundra and everything else that’s going to come out here over time but there’s a reason RAM is No.1 in the States and that’s because of that reliability and longevity. They’ve been around forever. When you drive them, it puts a smile on your face, people get out of your way. They are easy to get excited about.

With LDV, it’s just exciting to see where cars are going to go. If you look at Hyundai 20 years ago, my mum had one and it had no power-steering … it was just an engine with four wheels that went forward … now look at Hyundai. They’re up there and leading the way. LDV has come into the market but they haven’t come in with an inferior product, they’ve come in with features but they’re just cheaper. It’s really exciting to get in on at this level to see where they go. They’ve got some really good products coming out and class-leading stuff moving forward.

Why is good customer service important?

People liked to have a chat, when I was at Beardies. It’s the same here. We’re not going to mess you around, we’re here primarily to sell cars. If you know this is what you want, come in and have a chat. It is that simple. You build rapport with someone … if you can talk to somebody on their level and if someone’s happy with what you’ve presented them … at the end of the day no-one’s happy buying a car because it’s their second biggest purchase. Some people are happy they’ve got the car they wanted but they never want to part with that much money. If we can make the transaction as smooth as possible, I think we’ve done our job.

What is the best thing about your job?

The people who are here are good to deal with. Marlene Newcombe and Shane Olsen are pretty open. It’s an easy group of people to deal with which makes the day fly. If you’re not happy where you’re working … you spend too much of your time not to enjoy it.

Big brands join Village Motors

Simon Hughes, RAM salesperson

What is your background?

I have been with Village Motors for three months and previously worked 10 years at Starkey Motor Group, predominantly selling RAM trucks as soon as they came on board there. Prior to that, I was at a small dealership for about 16 and a half years. I have a big background in cars and selling.

Why are you passionate about the RAM brand?

I think because nothing quite does what it does. The beautiful part about the RAM trucks is once people have driven one, they can’t go back to something else. It’s the same for me, once you have driven one of those it’s very hard to convince yourself that there’s something else on the market that’s quite as good. It’s the comfort, the power, the safety features … it’s just everything about them. When you tow a big van, you feel a whole lot safer doing so. They’re so much fun to drive. That’s probably the big attraction for me.

Why is good customer service important?

I’ve been in customer service since I was 15. I started out in supermarkets, auto stores and the government in customer service. Good Customer Service is what brings people back. I’ve been doing it for a long time … a lot of repeat business, people follow you and if you do the right thing, they tell their friends and word spreads.

What is the best thing about your job?

People. I enjoy interacting with people. It’s the joy of this job, whether that be staff but mainly customers. Ninety-five per cent of customers are an absolute joy. I love it.

Big brands join Village Motors

Lee Willson, RAM and LDV salesperson

What is your background?

I co-owned Beardy’s Bar and Kitchen for seven years. Before that I was State Manager for Fiat Chrysler Australia, looking after Queensland and the Northern Territory and Northern New South Wales. I was Business Development Manager for them and also an Area Sales Manager. Before that I was in retails sales with the Muller Group for Chrysler Jeep and Dodge for six or seven years. Before that, I worked in hospitality. I ran bars, nightclubs, restaurants, resorts around the world for 13 years.

Why are you passionate about these two brands?

I’ve always had a soft spot for the American brands, spent a bit of time in the States myself, have a love affair with Jeeps – own them, drive them. The Mopar family, being the parts brand for Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge … across the range … has been a big part of my career across the years.

LDV is a whole new challenge and a whole new scope for me. It’s really just about getting brand awareness out there for how good these products are and what they’ve got to offer in the market. They’re at the lower end of the price spectrum, but they’re right up there on their fit-out, fitment, technology, capability and comfort. So, I really get to play at both ends of the spectrum.

Why is customer service so important?

It’s been part of my whole life. Customer service is one of those things that isn’t always done well out in the world but it’s also not the hardest thing to do. Taking care of people, being honest, answering questions … it’s something that’s been in my family for multiple generations. My grandfather ran and owned his own motels, my father owned his own service station and has owned cafes before. So, taking care of people is something I did long before I was able to work. I used to help behind the counter at our Shell service station when I was seven or eight. Talking to people is always fun and so is putting things together for people and making things happen.

What is the best thing about your job?

There’s a lot of good things about coming across to work for a family-owned operation. That’s one of the main things that lured me back to the industry. The rules and the way things play inside a family environment over a full corporate environment are different, significantly different, to the point of allowing a work-life balance, allowing you to ‘play’ with good products inside a great environment, backed up by a great team. The team we’ve got up here makes coming to work a lot of fun. Also, building relationships, that’s what this business is all about.

Big brands join Village Motors

Darren Smith, LDV salesperson

What is your background?

I have been with Village Motors since November 1, 2022. I’ve been selling cars for 43 years in South East Queensland.

Why are you passionate about the LDV brand?

They’re just a good-value car for what you get. Very much so. There were a couple of teething problems when they first came in but over the five or six years they’ve been here, they’ve ironed them out.

Why is customer service so important?

It’s my way of life. It’s been good to me, so if it’s not broke don’t fix it. Keeping customers happy is important. I am still getting repeat business, so that’s what it’s all about.

What is the best thing about your job?

I’m able to wake up in the morning and come to work. I love the challenges, there’s always challenges, and the people. They’re all a good bunch of guys. It’s nice to come to work in an open, friendly situation.

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