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Featured is an exclusive interview with Mr. Kwesi Mintah, the Chairman of the Tema Car Dealers Association, and one of the most respected figures in the local auto industry. He provides insight into one of the nation?s most capital intensive industries, and the shift industry players have been forced to make in light of recent economic uncertainties.

Tell us about yourself, your dealings and how long you have been in business?
I?ve been in business for so many years. I started this car dealership from the 90?s. I have been around for too long to quit. I have been through a lot of phases in this business and things have really changed; they?re not like before. Anybody could walk into a garage and purchase a car regardless of their occupation but that?s not possible anymore due to high cost of living currently. Business was excellent back in the day and projections were made based on the fact that it was a lucrative business. Then the laws of clearance and the exchange rate disparities began to affect prices and profit margins. It has made things expensive and in order to get your cars sold, you will need to compromise on your profit margin. It?s now a business where you need more money to stay in business.

How is business in the face of economic crisis?
We all have to be able to live and still survive in our own country. The economy is hard for those who accept the hardship. Depending on what you looking at and what you want to see, the economy has its own way of getting to you. If you choose to be with those who complain and do nothing, fine. The same way if you choose to be with those working hard and still buying what they please, that?s also fine, but don?t make an excuse to blame someone for your own failures. You control your own life so do exactly that and blame yourself for any failure just as you will congratulate yourself for any success.

How have the import tariffs affected you?
Truthfully, the import tariffs haven?t changed. It has remained the same but because the cedi has depreciated against the dollar, we therefore we require more Ghana Cedis for the same dollar price we purchase these cars for.

Any measures to put in place as an association?
No one recognizes associations these days, particularly the government; if it did, it will come to us to seek our suggestions and opinions in structuring the budget for import activities. The figures mentioned for these are just projections when in actual sense 60% of the country?s income is derived from the importation industry. We are the stakeholders of the industry so why not listen to us for advice on how to run it instead of making unfavorable projections. Importers never used to care about the operations of the government but now they are creating and building small networks to have one voice against the government because it is getting to the heels.

What are some of the conventions you as an individual car dealer put in place to increase sales?


We are in the computer age now and luckily we are in touch with carmudi.com.gh which is a very brilliant concept to help car dealers by putting them on an online platform to showcase, market and brand their fleet to persons all over the world. The turnout has been great since I now receive calls from people to do business without actually meeting in person. That?s a definition of business being made easier, faster and more convenient but just based on trust.

Have you experienced fraud on the Carmudi platform?


Never, frankly. Other companies came around just about the same time carmudi.com.gh to help with advertisement and similar online platforms but I believe in self-intuition. I have survived this business because I listen to myself and followed my instincts. I didn?t pay attention not because of looks or how they spoke but rather based on my instincts. I felt at comfortable and at ease with carmudi.com.gh and that was final. Total absence of fraud. Carmudi.com.gh actually hosts workshops for its dealers to educate them on how to detect fraudulent acts and that leaves me and my business protected.

Are there any sophisticated forms of marketing that you think can help your business?


Yes. Carmudi designed logos for our dealership as well as telescopic flags, and they are undeniably perfect. I can?t think of anything more. Telescopic flags are the best forms of catching attention because they are not static, they wave in the wind and anything in that kind of movement catches more attention than a stable or static object. I sat with the staff of carmudi.com.gh to discuss and come up with this branding kind of which am in 100% support and extremely grateful for.

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