South Africa’s Walter Martin Ends 60-Year Career at Tommy Martin
General Motors South Africa last month celebrated the 60-year career of Walter Martin, who opted to retire from his position as the man in charge of the Tommy Martin dealership on the West Rand. Martin, 80, has family roots with General Motors that go back as far as 1936.
Martin’s father, Thomas Walter, for whom the dealership is named, began a service in petrol station in 1935 that we turned into a GM franchise in its second year. Walter, after leaving school in 1954, took a job at his father’s dealership selling spare parts before seguing into roles in vehicle sales and the role of sales manager. When his father passed away in 1959, his mother, Gretha, took the helm; a decade later, it was Walter’s turn to head up the dealership. 46 successful years later, he is ready to call it quits.
“The way you treat your customer is what keeps them coming back. The customer has always and will always be king. The personal, sincere and honest contact we have with our customers is our strength,” Martin told General Motors.
“There has been many repeat customers over the years. In fact, we now have customers’ grandchildren coming into the dealership to buy cars.”
Sadly, Tommy Martin Motors will not remain in the family with Walter’s retirement. In lieu of passing the business on to an heir, General Motors will sell the dealership to a preferred buyer. And Walter? He says he will spend more time fishing and hunting.
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