NZ Truck & Driver News

 

NZ Truck & Driver News

 August 2020   

The sales division of Mid-South Canterbury truck dealer Smallbone Isuzu has been bought by another South Island company, Oakwood Motor Group. 

Dealerships in Ashburton and Timaru are included in the sale. However, Isuzu service and parts activity in the region will continue to the handled by ACL Smallbone, established last year when Ashburton Contracting bought Smallbone’s service division.

Oakwood is a major player in the South Island automotive field, with the long-established Blackwells, Cooke Howlison and Arthur Burke dealerships already in its portfolio. The Smallbone acquisition increases its holdings to 13 car and truck dealerships employing 340 staff, with the Smallbone locations now added to sites in Balclutha, Dunedin, Cromwell, Christchurch and Amberley.

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The sales division of Mid-South Canterbury truck dealer Smallbone Isuzu has been bought by another South Island company, Oakwood Motor Group. 
Dealerships in Ashburton and Timaru are included in the sale. However, Isuzu service and parts activity in the region will continue to the handled by ACL Smallbone, established last year when Ashburton Contracting bought Smallbone’s service division.
Oakwood is a major player in the South Island automotive field, with the long-established Blackwells, Cooke Howlison and Arthur Burke dealerships already in its portfolio. The Smallbone acquisition increases its holdings to 13 car and truck dealerships employing 340 staff, with the Smallbone locations now added to sites in Balclutha, Dunedin, Cromwell, Christchurch and Amberley.
Oakwood group managing director John Marsh says the decision to purchase the Isuzu truck franchise was part of the company’s strategic plan for developing its successful Isuzu truck business in the South Island: “We are very pleased with the acquisition of the Timaru and Ashburton dealerships, which complement our existing Isuzu master dealerships in Christchurch and Dunedin. 
“The purchase is also a show of confidence in the Mid and South Canterbury economies and the exciting future for Isuzu Trucks, which has been New Zealand’s No. 1-selling truck for 20 consecutive years.
“The market for truck sales seems pretty buoyant and we see this purchase as an opportunity for growth in the region.”
The sale will benefit existing Isuzu truck customers, says Smallbone board chairman, Craig Carr: “They will have access to a larger team of sales experts and stock throughout the region and will continue to receive best-in-class sales support from the wide network of staff available, and the world class service and parts facilities ACL Smallbone has created in both Ashburton and Timaru.”
He adds that the purchase affects only the sales division of Isuzu trucks at Smallbones and will not affect many staff members.
Smallbones has been a household name in Mid Canterbury for more than a century. Brothers Harold and Frank Smallbone opened their first garage in Ashburton in 1919, and secured the agency for Chevrolet and General Motors vehicles in 1930.  
Christchurch-based Blackwells goes back nearly as far – established in 1923. It has franchises for Isuzu trucks, Mazda and Holden.
Cooke Howlison is older than both, being founded in 1895 in Dunedin. The business was purchased by the Marsh family in 1963, and has franchises for Isuzu trucks, Toyota, Holden, Hyundai and BMW.  

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