The newest Hino dealership facility in Southern Africa was opened recently and although it is located in a small Namibian town, Okahandja, it is of historic significance as it represents the fulfilment of a dream by a Toyota/Hino pioneer, Wolf Ritter, who is a legend in his own lifetime.
Built to the latest standards for a Hino dealership – it is located next to a new Toyota facility – the impressive new building is located on the strategic long haul transport route from South Africa to Angola, being located north of Windhoek.
“This is one of only two Hino dealerships in Namibia and has a role that will grow in importance as we extend our Hino sales and service into the extra heavy long haul market with the 700 Series truck-tractors,” commented the vice president of Hino SA, Dr. Casper Kruger, who officiated at the opening function.
“We are currently extending the footprint of Hino in Southern Africa to ensure we have after sales back up on the major trucking routes and Okahandja is an important town for us to have representation as trade to the north of South Africa continues to grow in both volume and importance.
“It is also significant that we are standing here in this new addition to the Okahandja skyline in the year we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the arrival of Hino trucks in Southern Africa,” added the Hino executive.
Hino (and Toyota) see the opening of the impressive new Hino Okahandja facility as also celebrating a very special person who has made himself a legend not only in the Namibian motor industry and the local community, but also among the Hino and Toyota dealers in South Africa during his tenure on the local dealer councils.
“Wolf Ritter, who is ill in hospital after suffering a stroke last year, has been not only a loyal and supportive dealer but a person who has also put his stamp in many different ways on the local communities in Okahandja and in Windhoek. This he has done in a far wider sphere than only his automotive interests,” said Dr Kruger.
“It is a great pity that Wolf could not have been at the opening function as he would have been rightfully proud of what has been achieved over the years from fairly modest beginnings more than 37 years ago.
“This superb facility, built to the latest New Retail Concept specification is a tribute to Wolf’s wisdom and vision as well as his confidence in the Hino and Toyota brands and the growth potential of the Namibian economy,” added the Hino executive.
Wolf was born into a family characterised by a love of all things mechanical. The family history as motor traders in Namibia goes right back to the opening of Ritter’s Garage in Windhoek in 1928, with Wolf joining the business in 1975.
It was only in 1976 that the company was awarded the Toyota franchise. Meanwhile Ritter’s Autohof had been established in Okahandja in 1970. This facility which was subsequently appointed as a Toyota dealer was granted the Hino truck franchise in 1980.
Wolf was very hands on and his office in Windhoek was located in the workshop, which was where he believed the heart of his business lay. Top quality service was paramount in his eyes. He even dressed as a technician on many occasions. He also ensured that his staff carried through his philosophy of “happy staff make happy customers”.
His Toyota facility in Windhoek was refurbished to the latest standards two years ago and now the company’s new Hino and Toyota dealership facility is also up to the latest requirements.
“We at Hino and Toyota in South Africa have the fullest of confidence in Abrie Nel and Wolf’s daughter, Almut Boye, to continue to build on a successful business recipe and thereby fulfil the dreams of a person who served for many years on the Toyota Dealer Council and set standards that earned him the Chairman’s Achievement Award and the President’s Award at last year’s Toyota and Hino conference.
“The achievements of Wolf Ritter will go down in the annals of motor industry history in Namibia and this facility is a monument to his untiring efforts,” concluded Dr. Kruger.