Cargo Motors was formed in 1955 when Jack Mincer bought the Saker-Bartle group. This group of companies included D H Saker, the franchise holder for Studebaker cars and trucks as well as Vanguard cars and Mercedes-Benz trucks. The potential of Mercedes-Benz having its own identity was soon recognized and "Cargo" was formed purely for this franchise (Mercedes-Benz trucks), while D H Saker retained Studebaker and Vanguard.
The name "Cargo" is a combination of the first letters of the first names of the founders of Daimler-Benz, CAR(L) Benz and GO(TTLIEP) Daimler. Cargo's main source of income in 1955 was derived from truck sales but in the same year the first car, a Mercedes-Benz 180 was imported and sold. In 1956 a total of 93 cars were sold.
Cargo's initial premises consisted of a showroom and offices in 92 Marshall Street and acorrugated iron workshop in Harrison Street. The total personnel complement was about 20.
The original franchise area comprised of 37 magisterial districts stretching from the Northern Cape and Bechuanaland to Swaziland including the Transvaal, except Pretoria and Northern Transvaal. The area was covered by traveling salesmen and later a steadily growing network of Cargo branches and dealers. In 1956, Cargo's workshop in Harrison Street was moved to Bitcon Road where we occupied only a small section of the building mainly used by D H Saker. Also in the late fifties, D H Saker was renamed Lindsay Saker.
In 1962 a general representative for South Africa was appointed by Daimler-Benz A G in the form of UCDD (United Car and Diesel Distributors) (Pty) Limited which became known as Mercedes-Benz of South Africa (Pty) Limited. This meant a total reorganization of the dealer network.
In 1963, Cargo Johannesburg and Lindsay Saker went public and a holding company called Saficon Investments Limited was formed to incorporate both, providing them with finance and guidance. This was followed by the purchase of Cargo's sister companies in Klerksdorp, Germiston and Benoni.
Still in the sixties, the rising Mercedes-Benz population in Johannesburg necessitated the expansion of our services and in line with Cargo's strategy to bring our services to our customers' doorsteps; we acquired several service stations, namely Illovo, Braamfontein, Cargorama and Northcliff. Meanwhile in October 1968 Cargocity in Stott Street was completed. Based in Selby, Cargocity was one of the largest Mercedes-Benz service centers outside of Germany. In the 1970's Cargo continued to expand its operation by opening more service stations in Morningside, Sandton, Wynberg and Langlaagte - the latter two being predominantly truck facilities. Due to the ongoing expansion, our main parts depot then situated at Cargocity started bursting at its seams and in 1975, it was moved to a larger warehouse under the banner of Cargo Parts Center in Selby.
The eighties marked the beginning of a new era. The Sandton, Morningside and Wynberg branches were taken over by another Mercedes Benz dealer. Early in 1982 UCDD acquired the Honda passenger car franchise and Mercedes-Benz dealers had the opportunity to introduce this range to the South African market.
In 1984 Mercedes-Benz SA was formed
In our continued effort to grow we opened the Auckland Park, Kew, Norwood, Rosebank, Benrose and Ridgeway branches and this made Johannesburg the city with the biggest number of Mercedes Benz outlets worldwide. Also with over 400 busses Johannesburg had the 3rd biggest Mercedes Benz Bus fleet worldwide after Sydney and Hamburg. South African Railway Services Road Transport section standardized on Mercedes Benz Trucks and Busses and decided not to tender for this work. In July 1988, the Cargorama operation was relinquished after BP Oil announced a restructuring of the premises that did not adhere to Mercedes-Benz requirements. In July of the following year, the Benrose outlet closed down and used car stands were established at Auckland Park, Northcliff and Rosebank. The acquisition of property in Northcliff opposite the Cresta Center resulted in the building of an exciting new outlet that became operational in February 1990.
In 1994 assembly of the Colt pick up was started at the Mercedes Benz plant in East London
In 1995, Saficon and its subsidiaries were sold mainly to Imperial Holdings. Porsche and Jaguar (known as LSM Distributors) were sold separately as was the building material part of the business known as Boumat. Cargo Motors carried on with its Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Colt dealerships.
In 1998, Mercedes-Benz SA became DaimlerChrysler SA after the amalgamation between Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler in USA/Germany.
In 2000 Imperial purchased Edenvale Motors and this became known as Cargo Edenvale. The new Cargo Edenvale and Cargo M2 City premises were built and known as Cargo Edenvale and Cargo M2 City.
In 2001, Chrysler/Jeep dealerships were established under the Cargo banner and in the same year Honda SA was created and they decided to set up their own dealerships in SA. This meant that they were excluded from the DCSA franchise.
In 2002, DaimlerChrysler SA took over the full franchise of Mitsubishi for SA.
In 2004, Cargo Motors was appointed as a dealership for Freightliner (American based product). As a result, Freightliner/Fuso (part of Mitsubishi a Japanese based product) and Western Star (maintenance only) form part of the commercial vehicle arm of Cargo Motors.
In July 2004, Cargo Motors took over the Mercurius dealerships: Airport, East Rand Mall and Kempton Park and later acquired Polokwane in February 2005.
Cargo and Mercurius both owned by the IMPERIAL Group were consolidated under the Cargo Management structure as agreed by DaimlerChrysler South Africa.
Although Cargo/Mercurius operate under separate names they are effectively run as one business.
In October 2005 Magic Merkel Motors in Tzaneen was purchased. Today, the dealership trades under the name of Mercurius Motors Tzaneen and forms part of the Polokwane Market Center.
Towards the end of 2001 the DaimlerChrysler Dealer Network Strategy was proposed which focused on Brand Separation. Brand Centers cater for a specific Brand i.e. Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars; Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles; Mitsubishi Passenger Cars; Freightliner/Fuso Commercial Vehicles.
The business operates territorially on the East Rand and has Market Centers in Polokwane/Tzaneen and Potchefstroom and Klerksdorp, which are multi branded.
Cargo/Mercurius Motors is a progressive, stable company ranking with the best in the industry. We have a complement of approximately 1 100 employees.
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