Is it fair to say that you’ve always had an interest in vehicles?
Absolutely! I can remember being five years old and knowing it would take twice as long as I’d already lived to get my driver’s license. When I was in high school, I used to work a Saturday job which allowed me to save up and buy my first car. I bought my first car three months before I turned 15 and got my driver’s license within a week of turning 15.
I’ve always been interested in cars and Motorsport and have been competing in Rallying since I was twenty. It’s something which I continue to do now. In fact, I recently competed in a rally a few days ago and regularly find myself working on the car fixing the thing as often as required.
I’m a car guy and for a long time have been that friend or family person whose has advised people on choosing the right car.
I’ve also managed the New Zealand Jet Sprint Championships for about five years and have had quite a bit of involvement in producing TV shows for car rallies in New Zealand and some other motorsport events as the interviewer.
How long have you been with Driveline for?
It’s coming up to three years ago. I was new to the leasing industry but was greatly assisted by my interest in the motor industry. This has really allowed me to develop an intimate knowledge of the vehicle market.
What are some of the things you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy providing solutions to customer’s needs.
So, for example, if someone simply says they want a Ute, there’s more than 100 different options by the time you go through all the brands and all the options and specifications. I enjoy finding the best fit for each client’s particular needs.
I enjoy negotiating a good deal for my clients. When it’s new stuff, we’ve got standard arrangement to get good prices for our customers. I enjoy being around the car game and seeing people that get a vehicle that’ll suit them and off you go.
Why do people stand to gain from leasing a vehicle?
There are three or four main reasons that businesses will lease, the first one being that they’ve got a better use of their capital, rather than tying their money up in vehicles. The second one being that they get a substantial tax advantage with the Smartlease arrangement. The third reason is that the new price we pay for vehicles is so economical, it makes the leasing option economical. And the fourth reason, which is quite appropriate for a lot of customers is instead of them having to drive an unreliable old vehicle, they can have a brand new, reliable vehicle which isn’t needing expensive repairs to keep it on the road, unlike something older. Leasing new is often more economical than paying for repairs for older higher mileage vehicles.
What are some of the challenging aspects of the role?
Probably some of the most challenging things are the government regulations around the anti-money laundering laws and ID requirements. But once that’s done, it’s done and it generally only needs to be done once every few years. If people want a second vehicle we’ve already done that work. It can also be a little challenging sometimes when people have to wait for a vehicle because the vehicle industry has been very busy and there’s a supply issue at times. When you have to keep a customer waiting on an order they make, it can be frustrating. But thankfully that’s becoming less of an issue now.
You don’t expect to win over everyone who calls you up but it can be frustrating when you don’t hear back from them and why they chose another option.
What do you enjoy about the Canterbury area?
Oh look, Canterbury’s the best place in New Zealand and New Zealand’s the best country in the world so it’s pretty easy.
It’s got a good climate, better than what most people think. It’s warm in summer and while it can be cooler in winter, there’s a lot of still sunny days. It doesn’t rain a lot here. Everything’s within a short distance from one side of the town to the other. It also has all the activities you could ask for as far as things go.
For me personally, the rally and Motorsport car club scene is very strong in Canterbury as well, with lots of events and good roads to race on – roads which are closed for the racing!
Are there any types of vehicles in particular that people in the Canterbury area often enquiring about?
There’s a lot of enquiries for Utes. Utes are number one by a fair margin. We also get quite a bit of interest in vans and SUV style vehicles. Because we’re dealing with businesses, there’ s less enquiries for cars but we do lease them out. About 50% of what we do down here is Utes, 30% would be vans and SUVs and then the other 20% cars.
What are some of the biggest changes which you’ve seen in the industry?
One of the obvious things in the New Zealand motor industry is that people have moved a lot more to Utes and SUV style vehicles and that doesn’t seem like that’s going to change. There’s a heck of a lot more Diesel vehicles on the road. It used to be quite uncommon to have a Diesel vehicle unless it was a truck.
I remember when I was a kid, people would say “will we still have cars in 30 years time.” Well the answer is we do and nothing’s really changed. So the big question moving forward is whether we invest enough in our roads to stop them clogging up more than they do now.
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