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Previous owner leaves dealership under cloud

Nigel Thompson has quit a car dealership business amid allegations of misconduct.

As revealed by Stuff.co.nz, the longstanding dealer used to run one of the largest car yards in Christchurch under the name “Nigel Thompson Motor Company”.

The business has reportedly had financial issues. In November last year former Kiwis coach, Frank Endacott and his son, took a 50 per cent share in the business helping to pay creditors and provide working capital.

Stuff reports Thompson left the business in September and the remaining shares were transferred to the Endacotts.

It also reports the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Inland Revenue have confirmed that they are launching an inquiry.

In a statement to Stuff, Frank Endacott said the family would keep the business running on their own. The car yard would operate under the Nigel Thompson name for the time being but is planning to rebrand in the near-future, he said.

Thompson has allegedly formed an association the Aranui-based Celebration Centre church. The associated trust is opening a yard where Thompson will be an employee, says Stuff. The profits from the car operation will go directly to the local community, the church says.

Church spokesman, Corey Watkinson, said to Stuff that he was aware of investigations into Thompson but was not concerned about the claims about his activities.

The church, a registered charity, has an income of about $1 million a year from tithes and donations.

Thompson said in a statement to Stuff that he was “unaware” of the ongoing investigations and the commercial relationship with the Endacotts “was ended by agreement”.

“The terms of the agreement are commercially sensitive and confidential as between the parties save as to record that all parties agree that any disputes . . . are settled.”

Stuff reports Thompson has denied any allegations of dishonest conduct. 

To read the full story, click here.

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Mercedes-Benz Botany opens its doors

The new state-of-the art Mercedes-Benz dealership officially opened today at 279 Ti Rakau Drive.

The 5100m2 site includes 21 service bays, and is understood to be the largest retail dealership in the country.

The franchise, owned by the Armstrong Motor Group, is the fourth Mercedes-Benz dealer in Auckland. Currently, dealerships are located in Mt Wellington, Takapuna and Newmarket.

It’s the fourth Auckland-based dealership for the group, which has sites in Grey Lynn, Greenlane and Mt Wellington.

The site will also be home to the Armstrong Group’s first Hyundai dealership, which will trade as East Auckland Hyundai, and is due to open soon.

In the past, managing director Rick Armstrong has said that although there are numerous dealerships in the Botany and East Tamaki area, “it is still lacking a central automotive hub that areas such as Newmarket and Greenlane have developed.”

Ti Rakau Drive is a major arterial route which runs through the east of Auckland, connecting East Tamaki and Flat Bush to the northern neighbourhoods in the suburb.

Last week, Auckland City BMW also announced a new dealership in East Auckland, which will be located nearby on Te Irirangi Drive, suggesting more franchises may be attracted to the area in the future.

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Hyundai to join Armstrong Motor’s Botany dealership

Armstrong Motor Group has announced Hyundai will join the new Botany dealership alongside Mercedes-Benz. The Ti Rakau Drive dealership will contain facilities for two separate brands, with nearly 5,500m2 of floor space and a total size of 11,000 m2.

“We now have two exceptional franchises for the site that complement each other really well, and it will create a new automotive centre that East Auckland has lacked up until now,” said managing director Rick Armstrong.

“We expect Mercedes-Benz to be open in early June, with Hyundai following shortly after,” he added.

Armstrong Motor Group have been developing the new dealership for two years, which will trade as East Auckland Hyundai.

“We are incredibly happy with the outcome. The dealership is in the centre of one of New Zealand’s fastest growing areas and now having Hyundai – a quality high volume brand with a wide range of vehicles,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong Motor Group began in Christchurch in 1993 and now represents 19 brands over 13 locations across New Zealand.

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Mazda2 updated for 2017

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

(more…)

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Industry mourns loss of McMillan

Auto industry icon Bob McMillan has died after a battle with cancer.

The 74-year-old, who died at home yesterday, was a dealer his entire working life apart from two years after he left school when he was a public accountant. After 52 years in the industry, McMillan retired in 2014, after selling his 50 per cent share of Team McMillan BMW to its co-owner Collins Asset Management.

His initiation into the industry started as a teenager who saw an opportunity to make some money selling second-hand Minis with a friend.

McMillan’s first role was at John Andrew Ford, before he left to work at a Ford dealership in eastern Sydney. He returned to New Zealand and became a sub-dealer for John Andrew Ford in 1970. Ford NZ told him he was too young to be a dealer but could become a sub-dealer. For every new vehicle he sold, he had to pay John Andrew Ford one per cent, which he did reluctantly. After about 18 months, he became a full dealer and developed Team McMillan Ford in Greenlane.

By the mid-80s, Team McMillan had about 180 staff and sold about 3,000 cars and trucks a year, while McMillan chaired Ford’s dealer council in New Zealand for three terms.

He took over the original BMW dealership in 1985, which grew to become New Zealand’s largest BMW dealership.

He added to the dealership’s portfolio with a brand manager and sales team dedicated to Mini. Team McMillan also took on Rolls-Royce in New Zealand. At age 72, he decided the time was right to retire.

McMillan is survived by wife Kerry and children Anna, Scott and Andrew.

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MPs visit dealership site

Minister of Transport, Simon Bridges and Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross have visited the construction site for Armstrong Motor Group’s massive new dealership in Botany.

The project is on track for opening in May 2017 and is well over half way through, with the roof installed and concrete floors poured. The project began on May 9, 2016.

The site boasts is made up of over 5,100 square metres under one roof, including 21 service bays, and is understood to be the largest retail dealership building in New Zealand.

For the Armstrong Motor Group, this further expands its Auckland footprint with dealerships already in Grey Lynn, Greenlane and Mt Wellington.

Mercedes-Benz has awarded the franchise for the area to Armstrong Group – making it the third Mercedes-Benz dealer in Auckland and the tenth in New Zealand.

The new motor vehicle dealership is situated at 279 Ti Rakau Drive.

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Audi Q2 on display

Audi New Zealand has unveiled its new SUV Q2 model, this week, which will go on sale in NZ early next year. (more…)

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