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Uganda’s booming automobile dealership business

Gilbert Wavamunno

Gilbert Wavamunno is the sales director of Spear Motors Limited. He spoke to The Independent’s Agnes E Nantaba on the status of the country’s automobile dealership business.

What encompasses your management philosophy?

Management is all about who is responsible for what in a company. It is very hard for a manager in today’s world to sit back and wait for results.

It is better to get everyone involved through delegating work but remain involved in receiving reports to establish whether they are reaching key performance index. Working smart is better than working hard. Working hard can be pointless if it is all about getting to work early and leaving very late whereas working smart is ensuring that the goal of the day is met.

What is your assessment of automobile dealership and distribution in Uganda?

Automobile dealership has grown in general terms although not with the best structures in place. On the new vehicle dealership, we set up an association of new vehicle dealers – Uganda Motor Industry Association (UMIA) such that anyone who officially represents a vehicle brand is a member of that association.

The intention is to try and organize the market and have all the new vehicle dealers in one group, making it easier for the end user to identify a dealer of a particular brand through our association than going through middle men or agents. Our aim is to clarify this segment such that end users know very well that a new car is one with zero mileage.

A new car dealer normally brings in a car that the manufacturer knows will be used in Uganda, specified according to the operations within the region. This is because a vehicle nowadays does not have the usage around the world.

There are different versions and specifications and standards meant for different markets like Europe, Asia and Africa. This is quite different from past years where a car was a car regardless of where it will be used.

 What explains the rise in the number of used vehicle dealers in Uganda?

Everyone has a role to play including used car dealers, new car dealers, and the government as the regulator in the way they manage the industry.

What we are missing out is, yes, anyone can set up any business but we need to look at the environmental aspects such that we don’t end up as losers. As things are now, it seems there are no control systems in setting up used car dealership.

In some countries, there is strict control of how people set up used car dealerships especially on the age of vehicles, the danger associated with them, and the means through which they are acquired.

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