Beating Covid blues to take top Honda honour
Hawke’s Bay Honda has landed the marque’s dealer of the year award with director Mark Notman describing the success as a “huge achievement” for the Napier-based franchise, which went up against the country’s big-city dealerships.
Achieving the feat made the days leading up to the level-four lockdown a busy time for Notman, pictured above, and his team as they rushed to get new vehicles to their owners and secure the numbers they needed.
He says the win can be put down to how important it is for a welcoming place to be created for people visiting the business when they are thinking about buying a new car.
“It starts with being made a coffee when you walk through the door. When you buy a vehicle from us, you leave as part of the family. We always say, ‘if you’re driving past, pop in for a coffee’, and a lot of people do and are our friends now. They just pop in when they have a moment.”
Notman, who hails from Oamaru, trained as a mechanic before spending the bulk of his career selling cars in London and Christchurch. He and his young family moved north to take over the Hawke’s Bay Honda franchise five years ago.
Peter Ashley, general manager of Honda NZ, says Notman’s background in the service side of the industry has helped him be so successful as a dealer.
“Mark is a real people person,” says Ashley. “We’re absolutely proud of him and have been from day one.”
Notman adds it’s important to him to maintain relationships through after-sales servicing, which results in many repeat customers coming through the doors. The dealership also has the national contract to provide companion driving service Driving Miss Daisy with its vehicles.
As well as landing the dealer of the year trophy, Notman won a trip to this year’s Indy 500 as a prize. However, Covid-19 has put that on ice and has Honda working on a new plan to reward its number-one dealer.
The winning Hawke’s Bay Honda team, from left: Karen Tawhai, service receptionist, Stephen Brown, sales consultant, Brett Paton, customer care manager, Mark Notman, dealer principal, Mark Wilson, marketing manager, Scott Kyle, technician, Jimbu Zhang, technician, and Nathan Moetera, car groomer