In August this year the iconic General Motors building on Silwood Close, overlooking the roundabout in Chisipite, was rebranded and renovated to become Autoworld Zimbabwe. The General Motors franchise incorporated Isuzu, Chevrolet and Opal whereas Autoworld Zimbabwe is now a dedicated exclusive Isuzu dealership. Autoworld Zimbabwe is authorised to market high end, quality Isuzu pickups, commercial trucks and buses manufactured at the Isuzu plant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The Autoworld Chisipite showroom started out life as a branch of Fabric Library and in October 2006 was bought and repurposed to become the original General Motors showroom. The building has a unique and very modern design that’s perfectly suited to being a vehicle showroom. The front facade and large sections of the two sides are nearly entirely glass so the vehicles on the showroom floor almost look like they are encased in an art gallery display cabinet.
The interior of the showroom is double height so it feels spacious and airy and it’s filled with natural light from the high windows. The showroom faces north so it gets lots of sunlight in winter and it’s a little cooler in summer with no direct sunlight.
The showroom is really eye catching at night, especially for motorists slowing down to negotiate the roundabout, as it is lit up from inside like a glowing glass gemstone. There are also exterior spotlights illuminating the front of the building, the new signage, and a large red branded pylon which lights up after dark. The new signage was supplied by PSA Romano, a South African firm, who are authorised to create signage and branding to Autoworld and Isuzu’s stringent international standards.
The showroom floor has simple, plain white ceramic tiles which add to the bright, clean look and feel. Elegant black leather furniture creates a classy and comfortable seating area for clients next to a sweeping steel staircase that leads up to offices overlooking the showroom. There’s even a coffee shop inside the showroom, called Skotch Kart, so customers can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, or a cool drink and light snacks. In line with their rebranding the building has been repainted inside and out by BK Painters, in cool grey and white. Even the exterior palisade fencing has been repainted in a matching cool grey so the whole building has a coherent image. (The previous paint colours were blue, white and grey in keeping with the General Motors image.)
The Chisipite branch is the main showroom for vehicle sales and they also have a dedicated section for accessories, 4×4 suspension service and repairs, as well as wheel alignment and fitting. The branch includes a wash bay at the back of the showroom near the workshop, parts storage, secure storage for vehicles that have been sold and are being held for collection, and a bonded warehouse. There’s also an old house, which is part of the same property, which has been renovated to become their 4×4 and outdoor accessories department called Autoworld 4×4. The old house was renovated by Fija Properties in 2014 to bring it more up to date.
Henning’s Nursery designed the gardens outside which are beautifully maintained by Autoworld’s dedicated gardener. The plantings, with splashes of bright flowers, create a welcome and refreshing oasis of greenery in the otherwise busy and fairly unattractive shopping centre. Autoworld Zimbabwe’s Vision Statement is to be the leaders in the automotive market with value added service that exceeds our customer expectations through innovative technologies and a customer-orientated workforce.
New Vehicle Sales & Accessories 24 Silwood Close,
Chisipite, Harare +263 867 7004334 +263 04-497800/1
Text by Michael Nott
Photography by Michele Fortmann/SD