As Honda Malaysia reaches its one millionth unit milestone, the company reflects on the symbiosis that has led to its achievement, where success has been made possible by a dealership network that lives by the automaker’s fundamental belief of the Three Joys (the joy of buying, the joy of selling and the joy of creating).

This philosophy is not only the foundation of all Honda Malaysia’s business activities, but is also shared by all associates, including its dealer partners. Ban Lee Heng Motor is one such dealership where that philosophy has been truly embraced by owner Billy Wong. The man at the helm of the three-generation-old dealership is very much attuned to the values of the brand he represents.

The company has had a long association with the Honda brand. The business started as a bicycle shop before its founder, Datuk Ng Chee Peng grew it to become a distributor of Honda motorcycles. The dealership was then appointed as a distributor of Honda cars in 1976. In the early 1980’s, Wong’s father, Johnnie Wong, joined the dealership as sales manager and helped to expand the business to a four-storey enterprise. He was then elevated to the role of MD in the ‘90’s.

In 2009, the younger Wong followed in his father’s footsteps and ventured into the business, starting out as a sales advisor before working his way up to the position of sales manager. Eventually, in 2014, Wong realised it was time to step up into the role of being the boss.

Along the way, the Honda aficionado – who has an Integra Type R (DC5), S2000 and the FD2 and FK8 Civic Type R among his personal collection of cars – received guidance and support from countless mentors at other dealerships as well as from Honda Malaysia. One of those mentors is Lee Eng Kee, MD of Kelantan-based dealership Ban Chu Bee.

“Ban Chu Bee is a second-generation business passed down by my father. With those similarities, I have always been keen to share my experience as a dealer owner and successor with Billy by encouraging him to always learn, adapt to changes and encourage himself as well as keep moving forward with his goal,” Lee explained.

Another mentor is Shamsul Hakim, director of Johor-based Yong Ming Motor, who taught Wong the key to excellence in customer service. “Honesty is the best policy, especially in treating Honda customers with distinction – this is what I shared with Billy. I knew him when he was still a young student, and he has consistently demonstrated honesty. He upholds integrity in his business and interactions with everyone,” he said.

Such accolades portray the close relationship and cooperation between Honda dealers in Malaysia regardless of location, where they share a mutual goal of providing outstanding service to Honda customers.

As one of the youngest dealer-owners in the network, Wong said the toughest aspect of running a dealership was the high expectations that come along with the role. Nevertheless, it did not stop him from wanting to improve himself to become a leader that is not only responsible, but is also dedicated in helping his employees thrive in the company.

“Sitting as the head of an organisation, I constantly look around and see the faces of nearly 200 colleagues of mine looking up to me for leadership and direction. Their fate is inevitably tied to each and every decision I make. There is the daunting reality that should I make a horrible mistake, I may sink the ship and take with me the livelihoods of my colleagues,” he said.

“To bear that weight is something I never intended nor expected when I started my career. Yet, this supposed hardship is also what drives me to continue to perform to the best of my ability. My most difficult task is also my most important motivation. Indeed, as time passes, I feel that it is more of a privilege than a burden,” he added.

Perseverance is the principle that Wong has held tightly on to since the beginning, that approach made even more relevant during these trying times, where business has been impacted.

“I believe that better times are just round the corner, so I always tell my people to keep it together and persevere. Perhaps the one millionth sales unit milestone may turn out to be the turning point of our predicament. This is a tremendous milestone made possible only by the monumental trust placed in us by our customers,” he said.

“For that, I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to them, and that I will continue to strive to serve each and every customer to the best of my ability. I hope our customers will continue to place their trust in us for years and generations to come,” he added.

Being born and bred into a Honda family, Wong knows that Honda is more than just a brand that he represents. It is an identity that runs in the family. His father was once asked about his blood type and he famously answered, “Type H.” For Billy Wong, the “Type H” blood inherited from his father continues to pulse strong and true.