The Rola Origins and history
The year was 1963 - The Rola Group started in April 1963 when Rola Motors was established, and evolved over the years to what is known today as the Rola Motor Group…
Mr M.H.(Kiewiet) Cloete, a farmer from Karasburg, Namibia, had visited the Strand for his annual family holiday since the late 1950’s. He became friends with the then owner of Helderberg Motors, bought a car from him and ended up becoming a 50% shareholder in the business
He was quite surprised to get a call one morning a short while later, informing him that the company in which he was a shareholder was in liquidation and he was in for some serious financial debts.
Being the proud and good businessman that he was, he consolidated some of his assets, paid off the debts, and registered a new company, MH Cloete Enterprises trading as Rola Motors.
His son-in-law Laurie Claassen, a schoolteacher at the time, together with the support of his wife Helmine, (daughter of M.H. Cloete) joined him on 3 April 1963 (the official birth date) to become co-owner
At the time Mr Claassen’s only big financial asset was a 1961 Zephyr, which he sold in order to contribute towards his 50% share of the Rola Motors Company, that consisted of a filling station, used car sales, and repair shop operating from a small workshop
Mr Claassen had no previous business experience, and under the mentorship of his father-in-law and continuous support and active involvement of his wife, Helmine, they worked very hard to lay the sound and solid foundation for a successful company to follow. The then family residence is these days known as the “Home of Rola” and facilitates the Automotive Retail Academy and training facilities. Laurie Claassen coined the phrase ”Service is your best salesperson”, which became synonymous with Rola Motors
In 1994, upon the retirement of M.H Cloete, Mr Laurie Claassen became the sole owner of the Rola Motors company; he was accompanied in the business by both his sons, Theo who had joined in 1986, and Marius in 1993. Mr Laurie Claassen retired in 2007, leaving the company in the hands of his capable sons.
Over more than five decades the Rola Group has acquired and traded in different new and pre-owned vehicle brands, endorsing and serving them with the Rola customer experience of excellence and integrity, through which the Group has earned its reputation.
The DNA of Rola
R - Relationships
We establish and develop meaningful, sustainable long term relationships with all our internal and external stakeholders (as “assets”) to the advantage & benefit of all parties. We embrace family values and “togetherness”. We care about and create value for all our stakeholders and make sure there is “Return On Long-term Assets”.
O - Ownership
We are empowered to run our businesses as if it were our own. Individually we have an entrepreneurial spirit. Collectively we consider the “big picture” and are continuously vigilant and alert to get actively involved, give personal priority and take spontaneous responsibility. This will ensure that we do the right things right at every possible opportunity that might impact on the customers experience, the effectiveness of the teams performance, optimise income generating opportunities and eliminate or reduce unnecessary costs to the business.
L - Learning
We are willing to learn and use business reporting processes and information systems that measure the performance of Rola, manage our risk and make effective decisions. We learn faster than our competitors from our mistakes. We continuously transform and align ourselves to develop a customer responsive culture and remain competitive in the business environment. We also “unlearn” bad habits and values.
A - Achievement
We are competitive and have a “win” culture – the drive to excel, to achieve in relation to a set of legislative requirements and internal standards (The Rola Way), to strive to success, perform better than industry benchmarks and consistently and continuously outperform our competition.