Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
MULTI-FRANCHISED automotive dealership, Croco Motors, has poured in massive capital to set up a state-of-the-art workshop and showroom in Bulawayo.
The firm joins a bandwagon of investors keen to tap into vast business opportunities in the second largest city.
Bulawayo business unit manager, Mr Johanne Mutamba, confirmed the move but could not disclose the figures being invested.
“A significant investment has gone into this project and this is an optimum time to invest in Bulawayo as we anticipate a massive response from the community.
“The investment comprises the cost of acquisition of the premises, investment in equipment and technology as well as renovations needed to get the facility up to world class standards,” he said.
“The nature of the project is that it offers scope for incremental growth as the Bulawayo community positively responds to this initiative.
“In addition, the fact that Croco Motors has chosen to invest in this project at a time most companies have decided to put their CAPEX (capital expenditure) projects on hold, demonstrates the special place Bulawayo and Matabeleland hold in our hearts.
“Croco Motors has hired a South African consultant to put up highly automated machinery at the workshop. The facility will boast of world class state-of-the-art machinery including high tech internet vehicle diagnostics machinery,” said Mr Mutamba.
“In addition, it will have a large and expansive showroom that will house and avail for sale all vehicle brands under the Croco Motors stable”.
Mr Mutamba said they were compelled to set-up a new facility in Bulawayo’s CBD after the one in Belmont Industrial site had proved to be “too small” and inadequate to fully satisfy customer volumes.
“The Bulawayo branch has always been the key heartbeat of the whole of Croco Holdings and we will forever continue to invest in this market.
“We view this in line with the mantra that ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’. New jobs will be created directly from this investment while a significant number of others have been created downstream during the various stages of the project,” he said.
Mr Mutamba said despite vehicle sales for the period January to April 2019 showing a drastic plunge of 52 percent compared to the same period last year, the company remains buoyant.
“Clearly the market is challenged but we remain resilient and we see a bright future ahead of us.
“We believe the issues are transitory and we are investing in preparation for a time when Zimbabwe rises again.
“When we open doors of this new facility we will run a month-long programme which will give free checks on vehicles that visit our workshop,” he said.
Croco Motors, a subsidiary of Croco Holdings, was formed in October 1988 initially specialising in the sale of used vehicles and spare parts until the time it acquired the Mazda dealership in 1989.
It has a diversified reach and interests mainly in the automotive value chain such as new and approved used vehicle sales, vehicle service, vehicle parts and accessories sales.
The company holds the franchises for Ford, KIA, Renault, UD Trucks, Eicher Trucks, Volvo Trucks and is a dealer for Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, New Holland tractors, Higer Yutong and many others.
The broad business model is the sale of new and approved used vehicles, vehicle service, the supply and sale of genuine spare parts and accessories and auto body repairs.