The 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 Motor Group.
Mr. 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
He 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 Motors.
His 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.
At 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.
Mr. 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.
In 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.