Meyers Motors celebrated 90 years in the motor industry in 2021. No mean achievement for a company that was started as a service station and taxi business by the Meyer brothers in East London’s Argyle Street in 1931. Pontiac, Buick, Vauxhall and Chevrolet were added as vehicle brands and the business expanded geographically into Johannesburg, and King William’s Town in the 1950s. With the various franchise changes over the years the business currently sells and services Isuzu, Opel, Peugeot, Citroën, Subaru and Haval/GWM brands from East London, King William’s Town and Mthatha.
Meyers Executive Chairman Brent Thorp estimates that over the years the company has probably sold in excess of 125 000 vehicles . Thorp said Meyer’s fortitude had been severely tested over many years as it coped with various global, local economic as well as societal events. The most recent being General Motors’ sudden exit from South Africa in 2017 and with it, the very popular Chevrolet brand, as well as the economically punishingly hard lock down of 2020. “They were extremely challenging event's,” said Thorp, who joined the company in 1997 as Managing Director. “But disruption has a unique ability to galvanise the team, creating a fierce determination to not only solve the problem but to come out stronger, leaner and more resilient. “We got through those dark times and have evolved with a stronger team of people, a leaner business model and additional brands that have added great value to our operations, ” he said.
Thorp attributes the viability and resilience of Meyers to three major things. “Firstly, we have, and always have had, incredible people in terms of talent and attitude. “The baton has been passed through the various generations with a culture of ‘at Meyers we care about you’. “This pertains to both our staff and our customers. We seek to recognise staff who go beyond the standard and try and retain a family-like environment.“
Secondly, we have incredibly loyal and generous customers, who in a world with so many choices, choose to come back to us, and for that we are extremely grateful.
“Thirdly our business partners – the various franchises, finance houses, legal firms and suppliers are paramount to our existence. “Added to this, we have always had a Board of exceptionally experienced and capable people who have helped guide us through the challenges and opportunities that have come our way,” said Thorp.
Three years ago, Meyers moved the major portion of their operation from Cambridge Street to Beacon Bay. This facility houses new vehicle showrooms, a separate truck and commercial workshop, a brand new passenger car servicing facility and parts retail centre. It also houses Meyers Truck, Bakkie and Car Hire.
“We saw the need to provide a one-stop shop for our customers with easy access and lots of parking. “ More development is to come,” said Thorp. He added that Meyers is continuously looking to expand its footprint in the Eastern Cape
We are investing in the local community.
”Over the years Meyers has been involved in many projects involving local community support. More recently, in conjunction with the Isuzu Foundation, Meyers has supported two day care facilities in East London. Sive Day Care in Nompumelelo, whose existing facility was revamped, and Sifunda Sivuya Educare Centre in Phakamisa, who benefitted from a brand new fully furnished prefab classroom in 2020.
Meyers sponsors youth sports development activities in Mthatha as well as the surrounding villages. For 10 years 16 teams from local villages have participated in an annual Easter tournament, which includes soccer and netball competitions, for prizes of medals, trophies and money. The tournament also attracts talent scouts from SAFA third tier division clubs. “It is part of our responsibility to give back to our local communities, especially those who cannot look after themselves,” said Thorp.