Letsepe Phahlane: Excelling In The Motor Industry

It all began with an Excel Spreadsheet – at least that’s what Letsepe Phahlane tells himself.

The latest member of the Quazar Automotive team, Letsepe worked as a Business Management Manager for 10 years during his 13 years at VW Group. Some of his duties included overseeing Dealer Financial Reporting and consulting mainly to poor performing dealers with the aim of improving their business processes and ensuring sustainable profitability.

He was recently recruited to Quazar Auto as a Director after he “put together an Excel Spreadsheet which Paul [Cape] loved,” he explains jokingly.

More than a spreadsheet guru

A quick overview of Letsepe’s work history shows there’s more to him than just being able to transpose columns into rows, do VLOOKUPs and macros or utilize the Quick Analysis tool on command.

“My years at VW will be invaluable to Quazar, particularly in relation to launching Rapid ASE to the industry,” he explains. “I fully understand the product which I have used since 2005 while at VW Group.  This gives me a major advantage when proposing Quazar’s ASE Rapid to potential clients since I fully understand what makes our product more superior.”

Before VW, for five years Letsepe worked as a consultant for Deloitte where his key responsibilities included Motor Industry Development Programme audits. Prior to joining Deloitte in 2000, Letsepe worked for Toyota South Africa, Fedsure and FNB.

14 minutes of happiness

“People talk about every person having 15 minutes of great happiness or achievement in their lifetime – when I entered the motor industry via Toyota SA, this was my 15 minutes”.

“Well, 14 minutes actually. I was on such a high that day so I phoned my ex-girlfriend to tell her about my move to Toyota. However, just at the 14th minute, she brought me down to earth in seconds, even before I could tell her about my achievement.  So I always felt that life still owed me one more minute”.

“The move to Toyota was exciting as I was progressing into junior management. Unlike previous roles, this role was new in the organisation and required me to set up new systems. I went through a process of enhancing my Excel skills so that I could set up and generate key management reports”.

“When I left later Toyota SA for Deloitte, I still consulted to the motor industry, so in some ways, I didn’t leave the industry. I got involved in what was then called the Motor Industry Development Plan (MIDP), a government programme that recognised motor industry exports by awarding import rebates to OEMs. I would consult to OEMs on maximising these credits and conduct audits on IRCC’s (Import Rebate Credit Certificates).”

New growth for the future

During his time at Toyota SA, Letsepe was able to qualify as a Chartered Secretary and has been a member of the Chartered Secretaries South Africa (CSSA) since 1999.

“Of my CSSA qualification, the subjects I have drawn from mostly throughout my career are auditing and financial reporting, the latter of which became more prevalent in my time at VW group”.

“Using these skills, I believe the potential to grow Quazar Group is immense and I look forward to the journey. So much so that I sometimes thank that Excel Spreadsheet for giving me the extra minute of happiness the world owed me.”