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HomeSPECIAL FEATURESGC LUKHELE: GENERAL MANAGER OF ASTON MARTIN SANDTON

GC LUKHELE: GENERAL MANAGER OF ASTON MARTIN SANDTON

A key component of the Daytona Group of Motor Dealers is the British luxury performance brand, Aston Martin. Daytona prides itself in employing the most highly trained, dedicated, and professional people from within the high-end of the automotive retail sector. The newly appointed GM of Aston Martin Sandton is GC Lukhele.

Lukhele was born in the Southern part of Swaziland into a family of car fanatics headed up by his older brother, who was a devout collector of motoring magazines. Reading these from cover to cover was a highlight of GC’s early life and his chosen brand to start with was BMW.

Lukhele completed his education at Prince Edward Boys’ High School in Harare. Here he took an interest in the arts, in particular, he played the saxophone and the piano in a band. In fact, he and a few of his schoolmates formed the PE (Prince Edward) Jazz Band, which is still in existence today, although he is not currently a member.

His Biology teacher also found he had a leaning towards biology and suggested that he considers taking up physiotherapy.   

On a Bursary from Tibiyo Taka Ngwane, a Swazi nation Investment Organisation to study out of the country, Lukhele left for South Africa and started studying towards a Marketing Degree through UNISA in 2002. It was during this time that he phoned BMW South Africa’s head offices Midrand said he wanted to work there. Unfortunately, it was not that simple for Lukhele. He was put in touch with the events company that worked on behalf of BMW and managed to secure a position and worked on his first successful launch event for his favoured car company. He continued to work for this company until he qualified with a B.Comm Marketing at the end of 2004.

Having completed his studies, he decided the motor industry was for him. He went for an interview at MINI South Africa, which happened to be at the BMW SA head office. While there, he reconnected with the original contact person he had spoken to while studying, and after a short conversation over coffee, GC was offered a graduate trainee position in the BMW Events Department both to his surprise and delight.

The first major event he was to work on was the dealer launch and training of the BMW (E90) 3 Series at Gerotek testing facility outside of Pretoria.

When this program came to an end in August 2005, Lukhele was hired as a sales assistant at Hyde Park Auto, now known as Sandton Auto BMW, where he was seconded for formal Sales Cadet Training – a rigorous three months training programme given by BMW South Africa.

He started employment there as a Sales Executive from mid-2006 all the way to October 2015. During this period, Lukhele successfully grew his career, selling many cars in the process. He even went on to achieve 12th position nationally overall for BMW SA in one year! He does, however, note that it wasn’t all rosy as he had quite a rocky start to his career, and there were a few times he had to weather the storms of challenging economic conditions.

The year of 2015, however, came with good fortune as it saw him appointed General Sales Manager of a newly acquired business by the Daytona group – Melrose Arch Auto. The Daytona Group besides having ownership of two BMW dealerships in Sandton and Melrose Johannesburg also has the sole mandate for Aston Martin and McLaren franchises on the Reef and in Cape Town. Almost unexpectedly, Lukhele was appointed as the General Manager of Aston Martin Sandton, situated back at the same address he had worked at for over ten years.

“It is such a privilege to sell one of the most iconic and desirable vehicle brands in the world,” he says. The new flagship Vanquish S model, for example, features an all-aluminium substructure, full carbon fibre body – and exquisite styling. Not to mention the massive 6.0-litre V12, 443 kW normally aspirated motor fitted to an optimised ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s an object of desire.

The motor industry is the only industry he is interested in as it is such a big passion for him; his mentors are his late brother, Malandzela, and brother-in-law, Douglas Munatsi.

“I want to drive myself to be an inspiration to youngsters to set out and achieve their dreams,” concludes Lukhele.    

 Report by ROGER McCLEERY | Images © ASTON MARTIN SANDTON

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