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Record set by Fuso NZ

Fuso New Zealand has topped their previous record by more than 20 per cent, registering 1,017 units in 2017.

The company achieved a 17.6 per cent share of the market – a huge 99.8 per cent increase on its 2016 position.

Managing Director Kurtis Andrews

“We didn’t head out to set the world on fire,” said managing director Kurtis Andrews.

“Our main goal for the year was to develop a business that would allow Fuso trucks to realise their potential in New Zealand – thanks to our highly experienced and passionate dealer network, the foundation was already in place.”

“There has been a massive amount of work put in at Fuso NZ, and by our dealers, to build our team and operations from the ground up, so to sell 1,017 trucks against that background is testament to the effort that went in and the potential the business has.

“A lot of credit has to go to the excellent work that has gone in at every level at our dealerships across the country.”

Putting the result into perspective, the average annual sales of the brand over the preceding five years was 540 units, with the previous sales record of 787 set in 2014.

“We now carry over 8,000 stock items in our parts inventory. Previously, only around 3,000 Fuso parts were available off the shelf in New Zealand; anything else had to be air-freighted, which often lead to unsatisfactory delays. Our off-the-shelf parts order fill rate is now at 96%.”

2018 offers some exciting opportunities for Fuso NZ.

“Now we’re set up, we’re in a position to focus on selling trucks and continuing to deliver better for our customers. We’ve got some exciting products landing in 2018, and we’re all pretty excited about the opportunities they’ll bring.”

Fuso truck shoot. Mangere Bridge. AUCKLAND.

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Charging while shopping

Milk, bread and a side of electricity will soon become normal practice at more supermarkets in the Foodstuffs New Zealand network.

Foodstuffs has recently secured funding from the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund to roll out a number of new Electric Vehicles (EV) charging stations throughout New Zealand.

Steve Anderson, Managing Director Foodstuffs New Zealand, says, “Our business has made some astounding progress on a number of environmental issues to reduce waste, plastic and energy consumption. We were delighted to install the first charging station in Christchurch in 2017 – and this project shows just how committed we are to helping New Zealanders reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.”

“Our winning bid is in partnership between ChargeNet NZ, Foodstuffs New Zealand and the two co-operatives; Foodstuffs North Island and Foodstuffs South Island. Our owner-operators fully support this initiative. Their customers can charge their electric vehicles while they shop which is convenient, time-saving and planet-friendly.”

ChargeNet NZ Chief Executive, Steve West says, “As EVs become more mainstream in coming years, having chargers located at supermarkets will be part of everyday life. ChargeNet NZ has opened a number of fast charge stations in partnership with various electricity suppliers, site owners and BMW. A fast charger typically charges an EV in around 20 to 30 minutes. EV owners need to open an account at charge.net.nz to be able to use the charger.”

The EV chargers will be rolled out over the coming months at the supermarkets listed below:

North Island

  • New World Havelock North
  • New World Kawerau
  • New World Levin
  • New World Matamata
  • New World Mt Maunganui
  • New World Morrinsville
  • New World Ohakune
  • New World Stratford
  • New World Taihape
  • New World Tokoroa
  • New World Waihi
  • Four Square National Park
  • Four Square Opononi
  • Four Square Pirongia
  • PAK’nSAVE Kaitaia

South Island

  • New World Gore
  • New World Hokitika
  • New World Kaikoura
  • New World Mosgiel
  • New World Motueka
  • New World Nelson
  • New World Temuka
  • New World Westport
  • Four Square Havelock
  • Four Square Karamea
  • Four Square Reefton
  • Four Square SpringCreek
  • PAK’nSAVE Blenheim
  • PAK’nSAVE Queenstown
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Exciting news for MITO

MITO has received funding from the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund which will help towards the development of a qualification framework for the safe inspection, servicing and repair work of electric vehicles (EVs) in New Zealand.

The exciting announcement was made yesterday by Energy and Resources Minister Hon Megan Woods.

MITO Chief Executive Janet Lane says “MITO is absolutely delighted to have received this funding. The Fund encourages innovation and investment to accelerate the uptake of EV and low-emission vehicles in New Zealand. Critical to this is developing the human infrastructure required for the safe inspection, servicing and repair of EV vehicles, balancing the required physical infrastructure. We are sincerely grateful for this co-investment.”

EV’s lithium batteries.

The funding of $95,000 will enable industry-wide access to training provisions and qualifications for EVs by 2019.

Central to the project will be international research and evaluation of qualification design, content, structure and delivery models in order to understand and capitalise on previous experiences of other countries.

“This project will benefit the public,” says Ms Lane. “It will ensure consumers have choice when purchasing inspection, servicing and repair services for their EV, which, in turn, will drive value for money and increase consumer confidence.”

In addition, access to a qualification framework for the automotive workforce will allow businesses to respond to an increasingly rapid pace of change.

“This is a strategy necessary for strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the automotive industry.”

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Unique EV ridesharing service

Auckland Transport is trialling an electric vehicle (EV) ridesharing service between commuters’ homes and the Devonport ferry.

Devonport ferry – Visit Devonport

The scheme aims to encourage more people to use the ferry and the vehicles will operate within a 3km radius of the ferry terminal, primarily in the morning and afternoon peak.

Devonport has been chosen as the location of the trial due to it’s unique geography in which the only ways in and out are on the ferry to the city centre or along the heavily congested Lake Road.

The move is also being applauded by Drive Electric.

The not-for-profit group supports the trial as it shows Auckland Transport is doing their bit to promote sustainable solutions.

“Ridesharing has a part to play in making public transport more accessible for commuters,” Drive Electric deputy chair Duncan Stewart says.

“The fact that Auckland Transport has chosen to source electric vehicles for the trial illustrates it is looking at possible ways to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.”

The ride-sharing service will allow customers to use a smartphone app to schedule or call an on-demand electric vehicle to take them to and from the Devonport Ferry Terminal and their destination.

“Commuters are more likely to use the service if it’s convenient. Being able to easily book a ride through an app just makes sense,” says Stewart.

Stewart hopes AT’s decision might encourage other public and private sector organisations to consider using EVs for commercial purposes.

 “More and more organisations are adopting electric vehicles for everything from grocery deliveries to rubbish collection these days. This continues the trend.”

The start date is expected to be mid-2018.

 

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$3.74 million for new EVs in NZ

More electric vehicles will be on New Zealand’s roads with funding announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan woods today.

Hon Dr Megan Woods

Dr Megan Woods announced a $3.74 million fund for 20 projects in the third round of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

“These exciting projects include a 58 tonne fully electric truck to be used by CODA in Hamilton to shuttle Fonterra’s dairy goods to the railway,” Dr Woods said.

“Projects like this are vital to show others in the heavy logistics and transport industry that electric trucks are not only viable but have very low running costs.”

Dr Woods said $1.7m of the funding would help fill gaps in the country’s charging infrastructure.

One project aims to ‘plug the gaps’ in the North Island fast charging infrastructure and will see a fast charger installed at 15 supermarket locations including Kawerau, Matamata, National Park, and Pirongia.

Funding was also going towards tourism opportunities such as electric camper-vans.

“The projects we are funding show there’s an EV for almost every job or use in New Zealand, be it delivering fruit and veg or taking a holiday.”

Also announced was a Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO) project to develop a qualifications framework for technicians working on electric vehicles. Currently, there is no NZQA-registered qualification or national standard for this work.

To read a summary of the successful third round projects Click Here.

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Luxury car dealer lands in Christchurch

Dutton Garage has opened its first New Zealand showroom in Christchurch.

The Dutton Garage in Christchurch

Dutton Garage is an Australian automotive institution supplying some of the rarest and most collectible cars to the world. 

The luxury and classic car dealership boasts an extensive collections of classic vehicles from some of the world’s most exotic manufacturers, including New Zealand’s largest group of Ferraris.

They also use no brokers so there is no middle man.

The dealership is locally owned by Royden Mauger who has worked for the Dutton brand as a buyer for over 20 years but has now taken on the challenge of bringing the brand to New Zealand.

Mauger told Stuff.co.nz that when he was offered the chance of setting up a Dutton car dealership in New Zealand he chose Christchurch over Auckland. 

Not only was it his home town, but it has the best classic car culture in the country, he said.

“In a business sense it doesn’t matter where I am. It’s global. We’d have the biggest collection of classic and luxury cars in the country. We can source them from anywhere and deliver them anywhere,” Mauger continued.

The showroom will have an official opening later this summer.

 

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Sharp drop in business confidence

There has been a steep drop in business confidence following last year’s General Election, according to the latest NZIER Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion.

The report states that 11 per cent of businesses are expecting economic conditions to degenerate over the first half of 2018 due to uncertainty over Government policies.

Previous QSBO surveys have shown business confidence tends to fall after Labour takes office, in contrast to a lift in confidence when National takes office, but the effect on actual activity has been muted.

However, the bout of pessimism was not reflected in activity indicators. Domestic sales remain solid in the retail and manufacturing sector. The building sector also reported solid output and new orders.

Across the main centres, the pessimism was most evident Wellington and Canterbury. In particular, a net 33 percent of Wellington businesses expected a worsening in economic conditions over the coming months.

There is also a weakening in profitability, with a net 7 percent of businesses reporting a decline in profitability over the past quarter. 

Weaker confidence and profitability is affecting business investments; only a net 2 percent of businesses plan to invest in new buildings, a sharp drop from 18 percent in the previous quarter. Hiring intentions are also lower, despite solid hiring in the past quarter. These developments point to a softening in growth over the coming year.

 

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Spending hits record

Retail card spending rose 0.5 percent in the December 2017 month when adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said today. This is the fourth consecutive monthly rise in retail card spending.

These statistics are a great indication as to what changes are happening in consumer spending and economic activity. 

Retail card users spent $512 million on vehicles this quarter, a $5.5 million or 1.1 per cent increase compared to the previous quarter in September.

December quarterly

Retail card spending was up 1.3 percent in the December 2017 quarter when adjusted for seasonal effects, after a 0.2 fall in the September 2017 quarter.

Retail card users spent $512 million on vehicles this quarter, a $5.5 million or 1.1 per cent increase compared to the previous quarter in September. The December quarter is now the highest quarter on record.

Spending also rose in four of the six retail industries in the December quarter. The largest rises came from the hospitality (up $51 million or 1.8 percent) and consumables industries (up $51 million or 0.9 percent).

December monthly

When adjusted for seasonal effects, total retail spending using electronic cards was up 0.5 percent in the month of December. The total was boosted by a 4.0 percent rise in fuel spending.

Vehicles (excluding fuel) was down $0.2 million for December 2017, compared with November.

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Coromandel’s new scenic tour

The Coromandel EV Scenic Touring Route is in full swing.

The chargers have been installed due to the collaboration of Thames-Coromandel District Council, Charge Net NZ, Powerco, and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.

Powerco Chief Executive Nigel Barbour says, with the Coromandel being a popular holiday destination for both New Zealanders and overseas visitors, the loop will provide an important network.

Barbour states, “EVs are undoubtedly the future of domestic transport in New Zealand, they are cheaper, cleaner and quieter to run.”

“We hope the loop will give locals and visitors alike the confidence to travel around the region by EV, helping safeguard the environment for generations to come.”

The chargers give up to 80 per cent charge in 10 to 25 minutes and are able to be accessed via an RFID card, which drivers tap against the charging unit to activate, or via a smartphone app.

To sign up to the system, go to the Charge Net NZ website.

Powerco now has 10 public-use fast-charge EV stations connected to its network, in conjunction with ChargeNet NZ. 

EV fast-charger station locations:
Thames: Library carpark, 503 Mackay St
Tairua: 6 Tokoroa Rd
Whitianga: 2 Lee St
Coromandel Town: 44 Woollams Ave
Whangamata: Corner of Hetherington Rd and Port Rd, by the police station. 

Click here to find out more.

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Biggest motoring stories of 2017

Here’s a look back at the most trending stories of the year:
1.  2 Cheap Cars paid $320,000 for employment breaches 

2 Cheap Cars Limited was ordered to pay a $70,000 penalty, and was liable for upwards of $250,000 in arrears, following a Labour Inspectorate investigation.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) made the order after the Inspectorate uncovered serious breaches of minimum wage, holiday pay, and record keeping.

2. OPTIMUS announced ownership of NZ auto firms

Japanese holding company, OPTIMUS Group Co., Limited confirmed to staff and stakeholders that it collectively owns several major companies in the auto service industry in Japan and New Zealand.

Although the holding company has been in existence since January 2015, it only announced its ownership of these various companies July this year. 

3. $250,577 raised at AHG charity dinner

Automotive Holdings Group (AHG) raised a record $250,577 at their annual charity dinner in July, with the process to be shared by the Camp Quality and Cure Kids charities. 

Last night’s record-topping fundraiser, held in the John Andrew Ford and Mazda showrooms, brings the total raised by AHG to over $1.2 million.

Guests dining in the John Andrew Mazda showroom

 

4. Police arrested Trade Me fraudster

Richard Mark Wallace was arrested by Police in April due to numerous complaints of fraudulent Trade Me vehicle sales. 

At least 16 customers were left out of pocket after paying a 50 per cent deposit to Wallace, who claimed to import cars from Japan.

Trade Me head of trust and safety Jon Duffy said some customers have received partial refunds, but the majority received nothing, and at least $55,000 had been taken.

5. Mazda2 updated for 2017

The Mazda2 received another upgrade earlier this year and according to Managing Director of Mazda New Zealand, David Hodge, the 2017 version is easily “the most impressive small car on the market.”

The new 2 also came with standard autonomous emergency braking, a feature that has been seen on most new vehicles this year.  According to Mazda is standard on only one other car in the light VFACTS segment, the Skoda Fabia. 

Mazda2 Soul Red

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ŠKODA Kodiaq takes out top prize

The ŠKODA Kodiaq has come away with New Zealand’s top motoring prize – the New Zealand Car of the Year at last night’s award ceremony. 

Greg Leet, ŠKODA NZ General Manager, celebrating the night’s big win.

 ŠKODA’s first ever seven-seat SUV was voted number one of out ten finalists for the coveted Car of the Year trophy earning the support of the panel consisting of New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild and the AA.

“ŠKODA has presented the world with a great all round vehicle. While it’s clearly been built with the family in mind, the Kodiaq’s configuration, spaciousness and technology ensures the market has an affordable versatile choice that will endure,” Ms Stocks says.

“SUVs remain the most popular segment in the Kiwi motoring market and ŠKODA’s entry into the 7-seater space with the Kodiaq, which also has a 5 star safety rating from ANCAP means we’re well served by the brand.”

New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild President Robert Barry says the all-new ŠKODA Kodiaq SUV more than lives up to the brand’s tag line of being Simply Clever.

“The Kodiaq is more refined than many luxury SUVs with great design ideas, excellent packaging and competitive price points.

Stella Stocks, AA Motoring Services, Greg Leet, ŠKODA NZ General Manager and Robert Barry, New Zealand Motoring Writers’ Guild at last night’s awards.

“It has made the ŠKODA brand come of age in New Zealand and reach critical mass, it is therefore no surprise it has won the accolade of 2017 New Zealand Car of the Year.”

“The all-new Kodiaq SUV has shone a spotlight on ŠKODA in New Zealand unlike ever before. Demand has been phenomenal and sustained. Kiwi families in particular love how the Kodiaq excels in everyday life with its clever combination of quality, efficiency and European design. What’s started with Kodiaq will continue with more fresh SUV’s and electric vehicles coming very soon,” added Greg Leet. 

The New Zealand Car of the Year was selected from a shortlist of new models released to the market between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017.

The finalists were:

• BMW 5 series
• Holden Astra
• Honda Civic hatch
• Hyundai Ioniq
• Land Rover Discovery
• Mazda CX-5
• ŠKODA Kodiaq
• Subaru XV
• Suzuki Ignis
• Suzuki Swift

Apart from the Car of the Year award there are twelve other ‘best in class’ categories. In these, the judges can select from any new car available for sale new in New Zealand today, which means the winner can be an older model vehicle the judges’ feel remains the best, despite the release of newer cars in the category. Click here to find out who won

A new category for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids was added to best in class line up this year reflecting the increased availability and variety of these cars. 

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