THE ROLA ORIGINS AND
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
MH (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
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
son-in-law, Laurie Claassen, a school teacher 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.
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.
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.
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.