Automotive industry in New Zealand | Wikipedia audio article

Automotive industry in New Zealand | Wikipedia audio article


The automotive industry in New Zealand supplies
a market which has always had one of the world’s highest car ownership ratios. The distributors
of new cars are essentially the former owners of the assembly businesses. At the dealership
level they have maintained their old retail chains in spite of the establishment of the
many new independent businesses built since the 1980s by specialists in used imports from
Japan. Toyota entered into direct competition with those used-import businesses refurbishing
old Toyotas from Japan and selling them through their own dealers as a special line. The nation’s
car fleet is accordingly somewhat older than in most developed countries.
New Zealand no longer assembles passenger cars. Assembly plants closed after tariff
protection was removed and distributors found it cheaper to import cars fully assembled.
Cars had been assembled at a rate nearing 100,000 a year in 1983 but with the country’s
economic difficulties their numbers dropped sharply. Towards the end of the decade the
removal of various restrictions as part of the nation’s restructuring of its economy
made available low-priced old used cars from Japan. These used cars met the local need
for high ownership levels in a financially straitened world but since that time continue
to arrive in such large numbers they substantially increase the average age of the nation’s fleet.
Toyota, Ford, and General Motors Holden division still dominate the new car market. The tiny
home market—the size of a large city— and distance from potential export customers
worked with first-world pay rates against the formation of any significant indigenous
manufacturers. Only small boutique kit and replica car firms were able to survive. They
produce original kit and replica cars using locally-made car bodies and imported componentry
for both the local and international markets. Several of these, while small in size, are
noted internationally for the quality of their workmanship.==First automobiles==The industry began with the importation in
1898 of two Benz cars from Paris by William McLean. Apart from a few early attempts to
build complete cars all chassis were imported. Local coachbuilders, out-priced, finally disappeared
in the 1920s though not without representations to government. A few moved to assembly of
complete cars or to making bus, truck and trailer bodies, sometimes both. New Zealand
assembly of American ckd packs got properly under way in the 1920s, English ckd packs
a full decade later. McLean’s motor cars arrived in Wellington
from Sydney by the SS Rotomahana on 19 February 1898. They were a Benz Petrolette and a Benz
Lightning. After McLean’s Benz cars were imported it was almost two years before the next four-wheel
car was imported. A three-wheeler arrived in Auckland in November
1898 for Messrs George Henning and WM Service. At least three three-wheelers are said to
have been imported in 1899 including a De Dion for Acton Adams of Christchurch and another
for Robert and Frederick Maunsell of Masterton, sons of the missionary. All three arrived
in September 1899, with Acton Adams’s vehicle being involved in New Zealand’s first motor
vehicle accident two months later.Young Auckland engineer Arthur Marychurch returned from England
twelve months later with a four-wheeled Star, which he sold after a few weeks to Skeates
and Bockaert. They took up the Star agency and sold this first car to Christchurch grocers
Wardell Bros.The three motor-tricycles were followed in 1900 by a Darracq and a Locomobile
steam car along with a Pope-Toledo, Eagle, Argyll, Oldsmobile, and Daimler. In 1903,
153 cars and motorbikes were imported. Cars in 1903 cost more than twice the average annual
income meaning the market was limited to the wealthy. Petrol or Benzine was not readily
available except as a lighting fuel for certain lamps and in some instances for sufficient
quantity owners had to order it from Sydney, Australia. By 1925 imports had increased to
over 20,000 cars a year.==Early indigenous cars==
If steam-powered vehicles are counted, the first vehicles were believed to be a steam
buggy constructed by a Mr Empson of Christchurch in 1870 and a steam buggy imported from Edinburgh
by J L Gillies of Dunedin, also in 1870. There is no information about Mr Empson’s vehicle.
The first traction engine, an 8 hp Reading Iron Works Limited traction engine, had only
been imported three years earlier. Gillies steam buggy was more probably a Thomson Road
Steamer and not a steam buggy. Gillies sold the Thomson to the Canterbury Provincial Government
in 1871 for ₤1,200. These were followed by Professor Robert Julian Scott’s 1881 steam
buggy, which was the first indigenous designed self propelled vehicle in New Zealand.There
is debate about who made the first petrol driven vehicle. Timaru engineer Cecil Wood
made a petrol engine in 1897, but later made an unsubstantiated claim to have created and
driven a three-wheel vehicle in 1896 followed by a four-wheel vehicle in 1898. His first
independently confirmed vehicles date from 1901.
On 3 May 1898 a Nelson newspaper reported that a Mr Sewell of the Upper Buller had constructed
a motor car and was to drive it to Wakefield that week. A letter to the Evening Post’s
editor later that year stated that there were two engineering firms in Wellington constructing
motor car engines. Whether Wood, Sewell, or the engineering firms made a roadworthy vehicle
at this time is not known as there were no further articles about them.
The first New Zealand designed and constructed automobile known to have run was made by Frederick
Dennison. It was a motor tricycle reported in the local newspaper on 8 May 1900. The
article stated that Dennison intended to convert the tricycle to a four-wheel motor-car. He
did so and drove it from Christchurch to Oamaru in July 1900. It was the only one made and
was destroyed by fire on its return journey. A replica of this car was completed and driven
in June 2000 in celebration of its first journey.This was followed by several models constructed
by Wood between 1901 and 1903, A W Reid of Stratford’s steam cars from 1903 to 1906,
Gary Methven of Dunedin’s petrol driven car, Pat and Thomas Lindsay of Timaru’s steam cars
in 1903, and Topliss Brothers of Christchurch’s car in 1904. A Blenheim engineer, John Birch,
constructed the Marlborough in 1912 and several cars named Carlton’s between 1922 and 1928
at Gisborne. One of these is still in existence with the Gisborne vintage car club.==Level of car ownership==The number of cars owned per 1000 persons 1924: USA 143, Canada 77, New Zealand 71,
Australia 23, United Kingdom 14, France 11 1967: New Zealand 293, Canada 283, Australia
274, Sweden 250. 2011: Canada 662, Sweden 520, Australia 731,
New Zealand 708. (years:— Canada 2014, Sweden 2010, Australia 2015, New Zealand 2011)==Impact of legislation==
Government legislation has always had a major impact on the New Zealand industry. The first
automobile legislation was the McLean Motor Car Act 1898 rushed through by McLean just
before his cars were unloaded. It legalised the operation of motor vehicles, providing
they were lit after dark, and did not go faster than 20 kilometres (12 miles) per hour. The
Motor Cars Regulation Act 1902 followed. A tariff did apply to cars and car parts brought
into New Zealand, although with McLean’s cars there was some initial confusion as to what
rate might apply. In 1906 local coachmakers sought an increase in the tariff to 50% for
completely built up vehicles and in 1907 a 20% tariff was introduced on cars that arrived
in New Zealand already assembled to protect them but there remained no duty on chassis.===America’s domination===
Higher duties were imposed on imports from countries outside the British Empire. Nevertheless
new cars registered during 1917 show rather more than 90 per cent of New Zealand’s cars
originated in North America During the First World War the tariff on car bodies was reduced
to 10% but the same rate was also imposed on the previously free chassis. Import statistics
of the time provide different quantities for bodies and more numerous chassis no mention
of complete cars. Unlike in Australia local coachbuilders lost business in the early 1920s.
Some of the bigger firms ended up producing only commercial vehicles, truck cabs, trailers
but mainly bus bodies, for example New Zealand Standard Motor Bodies (Munt Cottrell) in Petone,
Steel Bros in Christchurch. Some simply became motor retailers themselves like Auckland’s
Schofields in Newmarket. Before the First World War motoring was reserved
for the prosperous. Roads in cities and towns may have been very dusty but were smooth and
well-formed. Townsfolk were on the whole satisfied with their English cars designed for the same
conditions, built with care to high engineering standards but with only lip-service to interchangeability
of parts. They required regular expensive maintenance at short intervals. American cars
were built in large quantities and thus cheaper, designed by much better engineers and built
for bad surfaces and to cope with irregular maintenance which might be hard to find even
in their homeland. During the 1920s the most common vehicles
were U.S. brands made in Canada (to attract reduced Imperial Preference duties) or USA.
For example, in the first nine months of 1927, out of 8,888 cars sold the five top-selling
brands, 4612 cars, were all North American. At the onset of the great depression car imports
fell away.===Cars from Britain===
In 1934 Government announced tariffs intended to further protect Empire trade while encouraging
local assembly. The level of imports began to rise at this time and by 1940 42 per cent
had been added to the size of the nation’s car fleet. British sourced vehicles took a
much larger share. The prosperity of country districts with the bad roads and the demand
for big strongly built economically priced American cars did not revive until the end
of the decade or the outbreak of war. Another factor locking in market shares was
an urgent need to conserve foreign currency which saw the government introduce import
quotas at the end of 1938. Licences were allocated to local importers in proportion to their
imports in the previous year. Because the new licensing system was based on recent history
it kept North American imports at an artificially low level when their market was reviving.
Unless they bought their erstwhile distributor and with that business its entitlement to
the necessary licences without the history car manufacturers could not enter the New
Zealand market but this new factor had no effect until after the war. The outcome was
to be quite a large number of mostly small, New Zealand owned, possibly under-capitalised
assembly plants. They often sought substantial support from their foreign suppliers.===Australia and Japan===
British sourced cars maintained their new share into the 1960s when Detroit’s big three
began to replace British Vauxhalls and Zephyrs with their Australian-made Holden Specials,
Falcons and, later, Valiants which soon accounted for a third of the market. All locally assembled
cars were their manufacturer’s most basic stripped down versions with a tiny number
of honourable exceptions, the brief post-war runs of Jaguars or Rovers etc. This was brought
about by the struggle to meet demand within the amount of cash the government’s exchange
controls made available. One of the outcomes of import licensing was to make relatively
new second hand vehicles more expensive than new ones. Another was the expectation that
a car would be made to last a long time and undergo many repairs that would be regarded
as uneconomic in almost any other market. This experience may account for the ready
acceptance of so very many used imports. Any Government intervention was designed to protect
the New Zealand car assembly and related industries and to reduce the effect of vehicle purchases
on the country’s balance of payments with the rest of the world.
Japanese cars entered the market in the 1960s beginning local assembly by New Zealand owned
businesses in the middle of that decade. One of their attractions was that they did not
all display the stripped down to bare essentials look of the local cars.
By the 1980s —when the number of assembly plants reached its high of 16— following
its relaxation of restrictions on importing ckd packs the Government seemed to recognise,
as did the Australian government 30 years later, it was cheaper and more efficient for
cars to be assembled in the country where they were made.
A government Motor Vehicle Industry Development Plan was put into effect in 1984. It began
by opening import competition, though spreading that over the four years to 1988, and by mid-1988
only seven of the sixteen separate assembly plants remained in business. The Government
announced in December 1987 following a review of the plan that all import controls would
be removed from 1 January 1989. At the same time a programme for reduction of tariffs
on vehicles and their components was announced.===Used imports===
As tariffs on imported cars were phased out a flood of second-hand Japanese imports swamped
the new car market beginning decades of low or no growth in sales of new cars. Imports
rose from less than 3,000 cars in 1985 to 85,000 in 1990. By 2004 over 150,000 vehicles
were imported in one year. Second-hand Japanese cars made up the majority of these cars. The
last tariffs were removed in 1998.==Assembly process==Body shellassembly and welding
metal finish Paint
preparation spraying and drying — in the painting booth
usually a plant’s most expensive item Hard trim —glass, instruments panel etc.
and in some cases soft trimBody drop on engine suspension and wheels, soft trim —seats,
upholstery added Final inspectionKits Completely Knocked Down kits would require
all the above processes Partly Knocked Down kits can be finished to
the point of body drop but may also require all but body assembly and weldingAssembly
plant buildings, plant, machinery and other equipment are not specific to the car assembly
industry and could be used for many other activities. What is special is the use of
the equipment to one purpose.==Assembly plants==New Zealand’s car assembly industry has its
roots in pre-car trades. In the early 20th century, coachbuilders and wheelwrights quickly
moved into building bodies for imported motor vehicle chassis. In 1926 after the announcement
that General Motors would begin local assembly a deputation of members of the New Zealand
Coach and Motor Body Builders’ Federation waited on the Prime Minister asking for greater
protection because they said American manufacturers were dumping cars in New Zealand and flooding
the market. The Prime Minister deferred any decision until he had heard from other interested
parties. The local managing director of General Motors responded that the failure of chassis
imports to grow was “entirely due to public preference and price”.Until the advent of
all-steel bodies which began in USA in 1915 with Dodge and began in Britain more than
a decade later motor bodies in essence remained the upholstered structures of timber and sheet
metal of 19th century carriages and the required skills were readily available. Imported bodies
faced a duty of twenty per cent, materials to be used in bodies manufactured in New Zealand
entered duty-free. Initially chassis entered duty free with or without a body. In the six
years ended March 1933 64,300 cars were imported but only 7,600 were given New Zealand made
bodies and tariff protection ended.From the 1920s to the mid 1930s American makes mostly
sourced in Canada for Imperial Preference tariffs dominated the local assembly industry.
Postwar supply was restricted by a dollar shortage then balance of payments difficulties
and British later combined with Australian makes dominated. In the late 1960s assembly
of Japanese vehicles began to supplant the British vehicles and by the end of the 1990s
British vehicles had virtually disappeared.===1922 Colonial Motor Company===Rouse and Hurrell, coachbuilders and wheelwrights
of Courtenay Place Wellington, took up a Ford Motor Company sole agency for New Zealand
in 1908. In 1911 their business was transferred to a newly incorporated Colonial Motor Company
Limited.CMC’s first specialised car assembly building was begun in 1919 and completed in
1922 at 89 Courtenay Place, Wellington – a steel box of nine floors, its design and location
on the nearest ground off the reclamation to deepwater Taranaki Street wharf based on
the Ford assembly works in Ontario, Canada. The building stood over 30 metres high and
was Wellington’s tallest building at the time.The top two floors were used for administration.
Assembly of cars from imported packs of parts started on level 7, and finished vehicles
were driven out the ground floor. CMC also built smaller assembly plants in Parnell,
Auckland, and in Timaru. At the end of 1925 staff numbers were 641: Wellington 301, Parnell
188 and Timaru 152 people. At that time daily output was: 25, 20 and 18 respectively. In
the 1970s Wellington’s former assembly building was given a new facade inspired by a car radiator.===1926 General Motors===In 1926, General Motors opened a plant in
well-established industrial area, Petone, in the Hutt Valley. In its first twelve months
ended mid September 1927 the plant assembled 2,191 cars. In late 1929 GM was able to report
the following locally sourced materials were used in their cars: wool in the upholstery,
Miro timber for commercial bodies, varnishes, glues, enamels and numerous small parts, glass
would shortly be added. Other articles which in GM’s opinion should be made locally included
carpets and top material and its necessary padding. All associated advertising literature
was locally printed and in colour. At first, it produced American Chevrolet, Pontiac and
Buick cars, adding Oldsmobile in 1928. Its first British Vauxhalls were built in
1931, along with Bedford trucks. In its first eight years it assembled more than 25,000
vehicles. By the late 1930s the plant employed 760 and
was building GM’s Frigidaire commercial refrigerators. Silencers or mufflers were added to the range
of products, 172,000 of them were made in the next ten years. A run of German Opel Kadetts
was put through. The factory’s size was almost doubled in 1939, more than 6 acres were now
under roof and the site had been expanded to 12¼ acres incorporating a cricket ground,
sports field and parking for employees’ cars and bicycles. This Petone plant closed in
1984 and production was moved to Trentham. Australian Holdens were first introduced as
assembled cars in 1954, but the first Holden from General Motors’ Petone plant, an FE
Series, emerged in 1957. A large new plant at Trentham in the Hutt Valley was opened
in 1967, where General Motors built such vehicles as the Australian Holden HQ series, Commodore,
and UK Vauxhall Viva. By the early 1970s, more than 80% of New Zealand’s new cars were
supplied by General Motors, Ford, Todd Motors and New Zealand Motor Corporation. By 1990
the General Motors plant at Trentham had been reduced to a truck assembly operation, later
to close altogether.General Motors New Zealand changed its name to Holden New Zealand on
15 July 1994.===1931 Rover===In July 1931 the Rover Company of New Zealand
Limited told local newspapers a building was in course of erection at 35 Jackson Street
Petone where they would assemble Rover cars. It was hoped the building would be completed
before Christmas. New Zealand materials would be used as far as possible. Parts that couldn’t
be made locally would be imported from the English factory.The new factory was formally
opened by the Prime Minister on 17 February 1932 in the presence of among others the chairman
of the Development of Industries Board and the Rover managing director from England.
The Prime Minister noted the Rover company was the first English company to open an overseas
chassis assembly and body-building plant in any part of the Empire. He also said “Britain
bought our produce and it was only right for New Zealand to buy in return from Britain”.
The only imported material in the bodywork was the leather and the steel panels.The price
of the car, Rover’s Family Ten, was reduced 5 per cent the following July “with the benefit
of economies arising out of New Zealand manufacture”. It was described as greatly improved over
the imported car having special bodywork, strengthened chassis frame, heavier rear springs
etc all to suit local conditions.In February 1932 Rover Coventry announced strengthening
of their Family Ten chassis by using heavier gauge material and re-designed cross members
to improve torsional rigidity. These improvements were, they said, the outcome of lengthy testing
on New Zealand’s and Australia’s roughest roads carried out to make the cars suitable
for overseas use. By July 1933 the former Rover factory premises
were vacant and advertised for sale. In 1935 tin plate printers and canister manufacturers
J Gadsden and Company, subsidiary of an Australian business of the same name, were making four-gallon
petrol cans (benzine tins) in the former Rover building.==Government action==A factor identified as economic nationalism.
In 1927 when 80 per cent of cars were imported from North America the method of calculating
duty was adjusted in the hope of encouraging imports of the smaller British cars and more
importantly encouraging more enterprises into local assembly. At the height of the depression
the government announced its determination to ensure as much as possible work should
be done by New Zealand labour. In August 1934 Minister of Finance Gordon
Coates announced that as the present tariff concessions had not been sufficient to encourage
foreign manufacturers to assemble their cars in New Zealand the new duties to take effect
from 1 January 1935 would be: Complete vehicles: British 15 per cent, others
60 percent Unassembled vehicles: British 5 percent, others
50 percentA definition of completely knocked down (CKD) would be fixed by the minister
and modified to ensure an increasing use of locally sourced materials.The motor vehicle
trade’s response was that they considered the reduction in tariff for ckd imports would
not pay for the cost of local assembly===
Completely knocked down===The minister’s determination for 1935
The industry had always been encouraged to increase local content. Compliance required
importers to bring in the chassis frame assembled with its engine and gearbox but no other parts
attached. Scuttle and windscreen could be assembled and primed. The body shell could
be assembled and primed. Upholstery materials could not be sewn but might be cut to shape.
There was no restriction on the components included in the CKD pack. The first determination
was published in the New Zealand Gazette of 18 October 1934.
1939Having lost the local bodybuilding trade, upholsterers found they could not survive
and in 1939 upholstery materials could no longer be included in imported CKD packs,
nor could batteries and the degree of assembly of imported components was further restricted.Inclusion
of a banned item attracted full duty to the whole CKD pack.===Import quotas by value===Import licensing or fixed quotas to ration
imported cars— and all other imports—were first announced at the end of 1938. Commentators
expressed concern that this was a short step from a total takeover of the country’s import
trade and at least would allow the government to issue licences in such proportions and
to such persons or businesses as it might choose. The minister’s announcement was greeted
by the chairman of the Primary Producers Federation with the description: “the Hitler plan” adding
(even if it was a) “retreat from the Moscow road”.The purpose was to conserve foreign
exchange and to protect local industry, in particular to promote manufacturing to improve
employment opportunities and to reduce the economy’s reliance on the rural sector. During
the war the restrictions were generally recognised to be necessary but they were not dismantled
only eased when conditions improved. In the early 1950s the import licensing system was
overhauled and many categories were made exempt. The same period saw the beginning of the safety-valve
no-remittance licence scheme. A balance-of-payments crisis in 1957 brought new controls to restrict
imports but by foreign exchange allocation. Another foreign exchange crisis in 1967 brought
a reversal of the easing during the previous decade. A new policy in 1979 allowed importers
to obtain extra licenses when they could show “significantly deficient” price/quality differentials
between local and imported products. By the early 1980s the industry employed around 8,000
workers. However by 1981 official thinking had begun to swing away from import controls
considering they did not in the long run remedy underlying conditions though they might be
entirely successful at controlling imports. If the intention was to protect local industry
tariffs, officials considered, would be a more efficient tool.Accordingly, by 1984 economic
liberalisation, reduced protection for local businesses and deregulation were becoming
official policy. A rationalisation scheme was underway when a new government elected
in July 1984 found it was facing a foreign exchange crisis and chose to deal with the
economic situation with these new tools. The automotive assembly industry was recognised
to be essentially artificial. Its poor build quality meant consumers preferred imported
cars. The cost of a fully assembled car on Auckland’s wharves was barely more than the
cost of a CKD kit. In December 1984 all controls on outward and inward foreign exchange transactions
were lifted and the same month the Motor Vehicle Industry Plan 1984 was approved. The Closer
Economic Relations agreement with Australia stopped immediate free trade in cars and components.
Import licensing for most goods was removed in July 1988 and the process of removing controls
protecting the motor industry further accelerated. A final review was set down for 1992.In 1985
New Zealand supported 14 assembly plants but by 1989 five of those had closed. In that
same period Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Honda bought out their local assemblers.The
following plants closed between 1984 and 1990: Ford Motor Co — Lower Hutt
Mazda Motors — Otahuhu Motor Holdings — Otahuhu and Waitara
New Zealand Motor Corporation – Honda — Auckland Nissan — Otahuhu
Suzuki — Wanganui General Motors – Upper Huttleaving the following
passenger plants (and three commercial plants; worker numbers are as at 1997)
Toyota — Christchurch (commercial) September 1996
VANZ (Mazda and Ford) — Manukau City March 1997
Mitsubishi — Porirua June 1998 (360 workers) Nissan — Wiri July 1998 (230 workers)
Honda — Nelson closed August 1998 (220 workers) Toyota — Thames October 1998 (330 workers)==Assembly plants continued=====1935 Todd Motors===Todd Motors developed out of a Ford agency
held by their small Otago stock and station agency. They later distributed a number of
American brands throughout New Zealand. One of them was Maxwell which was bought by Walter
P. Chrysler and given his name. In 1929 Todd set up an assembling (sic) plant in Napier
Street, Freeman’s Bay Auckland. Modern methods were planned including electric cranes. This
Auckland assembly plant was closed and sold in September 1932 to J Gadsden & Co to make
four-gallon petrol containersIn 1935 having successfully introduced Russia sourced Europa
brand petrol and oil to New Zealand the Todd brothers built a new building and created
a small car assembly plant in Petone which gathered more facilities about it as sales
rose. There, starting with Fargo trucks and Plymouth cars, Todds assembled Rootes Group’s
Hillman, Humber, Commer and Karrier brand vehicles and Chrysler Corporation’s Plymouth,
Dodge and DeSoto Diplomats from Canada Britain (Chrysler Kew) and Belgium and, from 1963
until 1979, Valiants from Chrysler Australia. The building that became the main Petone factory
building had been a Railway Workshop until New Zealand Railways’ new Woburn workshops
were built. Situated opposite Austin on McKenzie Street later known as the Western Hutt Road
now a part of the Hutt Expressway the old factory became an indoor sports hall until
it was removed in 2013. The site became a part of the Petone campus of Wellington Institute
of Technology and it is used by their School of Construction.
In 1971 Todd acquired New Zealand’s Mitsubishi franchise and erected a large capacity purpose-built
plant at Porirua which it named Todd Park. The first Mitsubishi vehicles were assembled
by Todd Motors in Petone, Fuso heavy trucks followed by Galant 1850 Coupes.
In Porirua Todd continued to build Rootes/Chrysler’s vehicles for a few years but steadily switched
over to Mitsubishi’s. Todd Park had begun assembling vehicles in early 1974. After 24
years Mitsubishi, having bought it from Todd in 1986, closed the plant in 1998.===1936 Ford Motor Company===In late 1935 Ford Motor Company of Canada
announced from Windsor Ontario that construction of a new assembly plant would begin immediately
at Wellington and it would be ready to operate on 1 July 1936.
So Ford Motor Company of New Zealand took over assembly and distribution of its own
vehicles in its new factory at Seaview in Lower Hutt. The principal retail operations
remained with Colonial Motor Co. The Petone factory is now a PlaceMakers Building
Supply outlet.===New Zealand Motor Corporation===New Zealand Motor Corporation was a public
listed company formed in 1970. It was a combination of the two independent Morris and Austin assemblers
Austin Distributors Federation and Dominion Motors. Ownership passed to Honda in the last
quarter of the 20th century and its business was renamed Honda New Zealand.
Rationalisation followed the aggregation of all the Austin and Morris plants and by 1985
NZMC was down to two plants: Morrin Road, Panmure in Auckland’s suburbs and Stoke near
Nelson. Panmure closed in 1987. As well as the more popular British Leyland
cars NZMC had assembled a few Jaguar, Rover and Land Rover products and Leyland commercial
vehicles at its assembly plant at Stoke. During the 1980s Stoke switched to assembling Japanese
Honda vehicles. It finally closed on 21 August 1998. Austin====1936 Motor Assemblies====South Island retailers Amuri Motors, P H Vickery,
Cossens and Black and Boon and Co (coachbuilders), announced they planned to assemble cars in
the St Asaph Street, Christchurch factory of Boon and Co. Dodge and Standard cars would
be assembled from CKD packs beginning with Dodge. Motor Assemblies (South Island) Limited
was incorporated in June 1935. Each partner held one quarter of the capital. Rover having
closed it would have been New Zealand’s third assembly plant, the other two being in Wellington
but within a month of the announcement of Motor Assemblies’ plans Todd, in the presence
of the acting prime minister, had opened a plant in Petone.By December 1936 Dodge display
advertisements pointed up the contribution of Motor Assemblies to the New Zealand economy
and detailed their many assembly activities in their Christchurch factory. It is difficult
to see why a 1.6-litre wood-framed-body Standard Twelve priced at £365 might be preferred
by a non-enthusiast to an all-steel six-cylinder 3.6-litre Dodge sedan priced at £389 except
on the two scores of (presumed) fuel consumption and parking space.In 1939 three brands of
car were being assembled at St Asaph Street. The purchase of 3 acres in Ensor’s Road, Opawa
was announced at the end of July 1939 and it was expected construction of 40,000 square
feet of buildings would be complete by the end of the year. The site would include a
test track. St Asaph Street premises would then be sold. War was declared just five weeks
after that announcement and there appears to be no subsequent record of the Ensor’s
Road intentions. A new plant in Tuam Street between Barbados
and Madras Streets did begin operations after the war assembling Studebaker and Standard
cars. In 1954 it was acquired by Standard-Triumph International.Christchurch production stopped
24 August 1965 and all its plant and machinery was moved more than 400 kilometres to Nelson
and into a never-used 100,000 square foot building on a 27 acres site intended for a
cotton mill but abandoned in mid 1962.S-T I was bought by Leyland Motors in 1960 and
ultimately the Nelson operation became part of British Leyland in 1968.
By then owned by Honda New Zealand this plant closed in August 1998.====1937 Seabrook Fowlds====
Distributors of Austins in Auckland Province and Taranaki, Seabrook Fowlds, announced in
the winter of 1936 that to comply with the new tariff regulations for imported vehicles
they would build “an assembly factory” in Auckland to supply Austins to these areas.
Situated behind the timber yards at the corner of Great South Road and Manukau Road, Newmarket
on a boundary with Epsom’s residential area it would be a single storey building with
two brick and two iron walls and its paint shop would have an air conditioning plant
to absorb paint vapour. Previously there had been a small facility in Parnell in St George’s
Bay Road.In the new Newmarket plant the body shell was removed from the wooden case of
its export packaging which also held its matching chassis and pre-assembled engine, gearbox
and back axle units. The body was painted and trimmed and seats and upholstery added,
wiring completed then the whole reunited with the newly assembled chassis and its mechanicals.
There were 54 office and works staff at the new factory and its output was expected to
be 20 cars each week.At the end of the war this small plant became the Austin truck assembly
factory.====1939 Austin South Island====David Crozier Limited had been running two
small assembly plants for some years. In March 1939 a consortium of South Island dealers
announced a new assembly plant would be built in Christchurch on a six and a half acre block
beside the Christchurch-Lyttelton railway line. It was expected the new business would
require a staff of 125 people and it was expected to open in July 1939.Austin Motor Industries
Limited, the company which would own the business was incorporated 25 May 1939. Shareholders’
businesses were in Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. Vickery Black and Boon were
involved with Motor Assemblies (see above) which contracted assembly to Boon and Company. Morris====1939 Dominion Motors====Wellington’s Dominion Motors business began
in 1912 with wholesale distribution of imported vehicles. In 1919 it amalgamated with a Christchurch
business, J A Redpath’s Universal Motor Co, and opened new retail departments in Christchurch
as well as in Wellington. Distributorships included Oldsmobile, Crossley, Chevrolet,
Stutz, Rolls-Royce, Hudson and Essex and Vauxhall. Auckland operations were run from premises
at 166 Albert Street (formerly Gillett Motors, Buick dealers, absorbed March 1926) where
there was one of a number of small workshops run in the main centres by Dominion Motors
that finished assembly of partly knocked down cars. In 1928 the 161 Albert Street “assembly
line” took one hour to assemble each new car.Just before Christmas 1930 Morris Motors Limited
announced the appointment of Dominion Motors to control the distribution of Morris cars
and commercial vehicles in New Zealand They took over Morris’s Auckland Province retailing
from long established Harrison & Gash, originally coachbuilders, who had their showroom at 175
Albert Street and carried out servicing at the foot of Khyber Pass in Newmarket.In 1938
it built in Mortimer Pass Newmarket a real assembly plant on 1½ acres of bare land beside
Highwic bought from the Buckland estate. The building was completed at the end of February
1939 when it was expected the necessary plant would be installed by the middle of the year.
The new plant would turn out 10 vehicles a day at the Mortimer Pass frontage. War was
declared on 3 September 1939 but the plant was opened and began production. By the start
of the 1950s it employed more than 600 people. A new extra plant was built in Panmure in
1953. Opened in 1954 it continued to grow until 1961 and built Morris Minor commercial
models until 1975.Production was transferred from Mortimer Pass and Nuffield Street to
Panmure in 1978.Panmure closed 1987.A new factory for the assembly of Rolls-Royce industrial
equipment was built in Panmure in 1960==Second World War==During the Second World War General Motors
Petone built 1,200 Universal Carriers also known as Bren Gun carriers, sub-contracts
for parts were spread throughout the country. Other light-armoured vehicles, mortars, shells,
grenades, anti-tank mines and Tommy guns were made too. Joining them were aircraft frames
and parts and the assembly of light tanks and aircraft. The nation’s 9,600 tractors
in use in 1939 reached over 18,900 by 1946. Until the 1980s Wellington’s main airport
building was a wartime De Havilland aircraft factory.
US forces sent to Wellington worn out or badly damaged heavy trucks and jeeps from war service
in the Pacific Islands. Reclamation was carried out in the Hutt Valley by Ford – jeeps, General
Motors – heavy trucks and Todd Motors – weapons carriers. Each truck went back with a jeep
on its trayIn the four years leading up to the outbreak of war the national car fleet
had bounced back by 42 per cent from its depression-starved level and New Zealand was second only to the
United States in cars per head. Petrol rationing came into force on 5 September 1939 and lasted
until 31 May 1950 with just 17 months respite in 1946–1947. The volume for private car
owners was eased or constricted as the nation’s circumstances permitted partly because tankers
on a run to New Zealand were unavailable for a long time and in any case the government
welcomed reduced foreign currency payments. By mid-1942 a rubber shortage put tyres in
very short supply, Japan had captured most of the plantations. A motor trade journal
pointed out that with the standard private petrol ration and the usual mileage from new
tyres a set of tyres would last 36 years. Newspapers suspecting cheating on petrol supplies
threatened to track cars from remote places at well-attended race meetings. It became
necessary to obtain a licence to buy gumboots and hotwater bottles.The US Navy’s mid-1942
success in the Battle of the Coral Sea removed the threat of Japanese invasion.==No-remittance licences==From May 1950 buyers could dodge the apparently
endless queues for a new car by using “overseas funds”. They could even import cars for which
no import licence would ever be provided. In essence the buyer would pay for the overseas
content of the car from a source beyond the control of New Zealand’s manifold foreign
currency restrictions. The balance of dealer overheads, duty and sales tax was paid in
local currency when the vehicle was delivered. If the vehicle were locally assembled the
“overseas funds” requirement was much lower. Until late in the scheme “Overseas funds”
were not difficult to obtain or “create”. Most New Zealanders disliked the necessary
deviousness.It seems to have been seen as a valuable safety valve and guide to the shape
of a free market. Holden dealers even incorporated the statistics in their advertising.The scheme
seems to have lasted more than thirty years.==Assembly plants continued=====1946 Austin Distributors Federation===Austin agent George H. Scott became New Zealand’s
official Austin factory representative in 1919. He formed the Austin Distributor Federation.====1946 Associated Motor Industries and
Austin Distributors Federation====Two new companies were incorporated in August
1945 Associated Motor Industries Limited and Austin Distributors Federation (N.Z.) Limited
both of Wellington. The Petone plant, situated on McKenzie street
across the road from the Todd Motors plant, closed in May 1983. After various uses including
a paintball arena and a car dealership the building was demolished in 2015===1958 Motor Holdings===Motor Holdings developed from the New Zealand
franchise of Jowett Motors. The New Zealand franchise imported and assembled Bradford’s
very light vans and trucks in Auckland. Following Jowett’s 1954 departure from the industry
the New Zealand company won the Volkswagen franchise and changed its name to VW Motors.
By 1958 VW Motors had built a new assembly plant at Fort Richard Rd in Otahuhu. By 1964
the parent company of Motor Holdings was formed, which controlled 15 smaller companies, including
VW Motors and the new assembly company of Motor Industries International Ltd. During
the 1960s and 1970s Motor Holdings assembled many different makes in addition to Volkswagen
including Studebaker, Nash, Hudson, Peugeot 404, Datsun, Simca, Skoda, the Fiat Bambina,
and the New Zealand-made Trekka. The company became European Motor Distributors (EMD) in
1978, and continued to assemble Volkswagens until 1986.===1964 Steel Brothers===Toyota New Zealand ChristchurchSteel Brothers
Canterbury Coach Factory began making commercial motor vehicle coachwork in the early 1900s.
They were among the first to assemble Japanese cars in New Zealand. In 1964 Steel Brothers
incorporated Steel Motor Assemblies Limited and began assembling Prince Glorias. They
followed with more Datsuns (Nissans) and added Mazdas.
In February 1967 they began to put together the first New Zealand assembled Toyotas, Toyota
Corona T40 and T50 cars for Consolidated Motor Industries which owned the New Zealand Toyota
franchise. Consolidated Motor Industries was a partnership of Mercedes-Benz importers Cable-Price-Downer
with Challenge Corporation renamed in November 1970 as Consolidated Motor Distributors.Manufacturers
like Toyota were unable to establish their own assembly plants because New Zealand’s
import licensing system granted licences by marque to existing franchise holders. So Toyota
was obliged to buy the licence holders.In February 1977 Toyota acquired from Challenge
a 20 per cent stake in Consolidated Motor Distributors, which now controlled Campbell
in Thames, and in May 1979 CMD was re-named Toyota New Zealand Limited. Purchase from
the New Zealand shareholders was completed in June 1992. Toyota also acquired Steel Motor
Assemblies and renamed it Toyota New Zealand Christchurch.Steel Brothers also made and
exported Lotus Seven sports cars from 1973 to 1979. Prototypes of a replacement car were
made but did not enter production.Though changes of regulations had begun in 1978 New Zealand’s
long-distance internal transport system was transformed in 1983 when New Zealand Railways
Corporation’ long-haul freight monopoly was removed. Steelbro having built more than 5,000
truck cabs and bodies in the previous ten years elected to concentrate on their trailers
and semi-trailers.===1964 Campbell Motor Industries===Toyota New Zealand ThamesGoldmining centre
Thames was from 1872 the base of A & G Price and it remains so. In the 1960s A & G Price
was the heavy engineering component of vehicle importer and conglomerate Cable Price Downer,
owners with Challenge Corporation of Toyota franchise holder Consolidated Motor Distributors.
Steel Motor Assemblies in Christchurch assembled Toyota Coronas for Consolidated Motor Distributors
later known as Consolidated Motor Industries. Campbell Tube Products (exhaust pipes, mufflers)
established at Thames in 1939 was a subsidiary of long established 438 Queen Street and provincial
Auckland motor vehicle importers and distributors Campbell Motors (Willys, Studebaker). Already
having a presence in Thames Campbell’s bought land from Thames’s local council in 1963 to
build an assembly plant for Campbell Motor Industries to build American Motors Rambler
cars. Their first Rambler came off the assembly line in September 1964. By 1966 Peugeots,
Hino Contessas and Isuzu Belletts had been added to the line.New Zealand’s first Toyota
Corollas were assembled by Campbell Motor Industries at Thames in April 1968 along with
a number of vehicles made by American Motors Corporation (AMC) from the United States.
American Motors was an aggregation of almost all surviving US brands outside Detroit’s
Big Three. AMC vehicles assembled included Rambler Classic, Rebel, and Jeep. Although
the Rambler brand was officially dropped by AMC from 1968, the marque was continued in
New Zealand, Australia and other export markets of AMC during the 1970s. CMI did not continue
with assembly of the Rebel’s 1971 replacement, the AMC Matador but assembled the 1970 Rebel
for one more year in 1971. Challenge had become the major shareholder
by 1975 and by 1977 sold this holding to Consolidated Motor Industries which was renamed Toyota
New Zealand in May 1979. The Thames buildings are now used to refurbish
used Toyotas imported from Japan and sold as Signature Toyotas.
Campbell Tube Products is now New Zealand Wheelbarrows Limited.==New Zealand Motor Bodies====1970 Nissan==
Felton Mathew Avenue, Glen Innes.==Components industry==
Original equipment manufacturers Locally manufactured components included upholstery,
paint, batteries, tyres and rubber components, windscreens, glass, wiring looms, radios,
exhaust systems and bumpers. They had been favoured since the 1920s but received their
greatest encouragement immediately after the Second World War.
The conflict between what seemed commonsense to overseas suppliers and local requirements
could make for strange events. It was reported that CKD units were being received with ready
installed spark plugs in their engines. Assemblers were obliged to remove and destroy the plugs
and replace them with inferior plugs of local manufacture.The component industry shared
the fate of the assembly industry.==Location of assembly plants==
In 1969 p33, 72 per cent (by quantity) of local assembly
was carried out in the Hutt Valley 19 per cent in Auckland
5 per cent in Nelson 4 per cent in Thames
1 per cent in Christchurch==A snapshot of the industry 1966==
Passenger vehicle assembly by firm and model 1966
Quantity — Share — Brand Ford Motor Company of New Zealand
2,118 — 3.3 per cent — Anglia 4,898 — 7.7 per cent — Cortina
3,103 — 4.9 per cent — Zephyr Zodiac 2,128 — 3.3 per cent — Falcon
90 — 0.2 per cent — Other 12,337 — 19.4 per cent — TOTAL
General Motors New Zealand 6,470 — 10.2 per cent — Vauxhall
8,651 — 13.6 per cent — Holden
394 — 0.6 per cent — Chevrolet 201 — 0.3 per cent — Pontiac
36 — 0.1 per cent — Other 15,752 — 24.8 per cent — TOTAL
Todd Motors 5,742 — 9.0 per cent — Hillman/Hunter
3,033 — 4.8 per cent — Chrysler 573 — 0.9 per cent — Singer
325 — 0.5 per cent — Renault 53 — 0.1 per cent — Other
9,726 — 15.3 per cent — TOTAL Dominion Motors
8,716 — 13.7 per cent — Morris/Nuffield 905 — 1.4 per cent —
Wolseley 9,621 — 15.1 per cent — TOTAL
Austin Distributors 1,648 — 2.6 per cent — Austin Mini
2,289 — 3.6 per cent — Austin 1100 1,667 — 2.6 per cent — Austin 1800
228 — 0.4 per cent — Other 5,832 — 9.2 per cent — TOTAL
Motor Industries (International) 2,491 — 3.9 per cent — Volkswagen
1,321 — 2.1 per cent — Fiat 416 — 0.6 per cent — Skoda
371 — 0.6 per cent — Simca 4,599 — 7.2 per cent — TOTAL
Leyland Standard-Triumph 2,331— 3.7 per cent — Triumph
Steel Bros. (Addington) 23 — 0.0 per cent — Toyota
614 — 1.0 per cent — Prince 637 — 1.0 per cent — TOTAL
Campbell Industries 380 — 0.6 per cent — Peugeot
266 — 0.4 per cent — Hino 332 — 0.5 per cent — Rambler
8 — 0.0 per cent — Isuzu 349 — 0.6 per cent — Datsun
1,335 — 2.1 per cent — TOTALOther Companies 1,397 — 2.2 per cent — Other CompaniesAll
Companies 63,567 — 100.0 per cent — TOTALSource:
Report by New Zealand Vehicle Manufacturer as quoted in IBRD statistical data 24 April
1968==Japanese Cars==
The first Japanese cars constructed in New Zealand were Nissans, then known as Datsuns.
Datsun Bluebird P312s were built in Mount Wellington from March 1963. Until it built
its own permanent plant in Wiri, south Auckland, in the late 1970s, Nissans were assembled
all over New Zealand – by NZ Motor Bodies in Mt Wellington (early Bluebirds) Campbell
Industries in Thames (1200 and 1600, 120Y, 180B), Motor Holdings, Waitara (1200 wagon,
120Y wagon), Todd Motors, Porirua (180B) a Nissan-owned ‘temporary’ plant in Mt Roskill,
Auckland (1200, 120Y) and commercial vehicle plants in Glen Innes and Mangere.
Other Japanese manufacturers followed Nissan with Toyota Coronas (and later Crowns) being
assembled by Steel Brothers Limited in Christchurch and Campbell’s in Thames building the Corolla
from the late 1960s. Steel Brothers Limited also assembled Lotus Sevens under licence.
Campbell Industries Limited also assembled Hino Contessas, the Isuzu Bellett, and Toyota
Corollas after their takeover of Hino.New Zealand Motor Corporation first built Hondas
in Petone in from 1976, adding Mt Wellington, Auckland, later and eventually consolidating
at the former Jaguar/Triumph/Rover/Land Rover plant in Nelson. Todd Motors replaced its
Petone plant in 1975 with a large new facility in Porirua to produce Mitsubishi, Chrysler
and Talbot vehicles plus some Datsuns. Mazda B-Series pickup trucks were first built
by Steelbros (later Toyota) in 1969 and the first cars in 1972 were made by Motor Holdings
in Otahuhu and, later Mount Wellington (taking over the Motor Bodies plant). Later Mazda
assembly was shared with Ford in a joint assembly plant called Vehicle Assemblers NZ (VANZ),
originally Ford’s new Wiri plant opened in 1973.===Other makes===
Prior to Campbell Motors in 1964, earlier Renaults like the Dauphine and R8 were assembled
by Todd Motors under contract while the first NZ-built Peugeots were assembled at Motor
Holdings in Otahuhu. Studebakers were first built along with Nash
and Hudson at the original Standard plant in Christchurch prior to being made at Motor
Holdings. Ladas were introduced in the late 1980s and
early 1990s as part of an import deal between Fontera’s predecessor, the New Zealand Dairy
Board and the Soviet Union but were never locally assembled. The franchise was put up
for sale in early 1993, as the New Zealand automotive market contracted.In 2014 prominent
Auckland businessman Toa Greening proposed constructing Tango T600 electric microcars
under licence as a means to reducing traffic congestion, particularly in Auckland, New
Zealand’s largest city.==New Zealand assembled 1967==
In this period the world’s fourteen largest motor companies were: General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Volkswagen,
Fiat, British Motor Holdings, Renault, Toyota, Citroen, Nissan, Peugeot, American Motors,
Daimler-Benz, VolvoAt that time products of each of them were assembled in New Zealand
except in the case of Citroen, Daimler-Benz and Volvo.==NZIER review 1971==
In 1970 three-quarters of the cars produced were assembled in the Hutt Valley, most of
the rest were assembled in Auckland. Nine companies carried out the assembly, three
of them were overseas-owned. Each company had one plant except one of them (Austin)
which had a plant in both Hutt Valley and Auckland. By that time imported components
represented just 60 per cent of a car’s wholesale price fallen from 71 per cent in the 1940s.New
Zealand Institute of Economic Research judged that assembly was not capital-intensive and
that most of the work required unskilled labour. In 1971 they estimated that including freight
but without duty fully imported vehicles would cost around 3 per cent less than locally assembled
cars. At the same time the costs of local assembly and local components were around
double the costs if carried out by the overseas manufacturer. The report of the Institute’s
study claimed that limiting the then current production levels to one or two models assembled
by one or two plants would bring significant savings from economies of scale. It was also
claimed that production of 200,000 units a year would be needed to give major economies
of scale. In summary forcing local manufacture was not difficult but the results were not
fully satisfactory. It was suggested that the protection afforded British and Australian
vehicles be dropped as low as permitted by treaties with those countries.===Demise of the assembly plants===
With the reduction and removal of tariffs through the 1980s and 1990s plus the importation
of second hand Japanese cars, the major assembly plants began to close. New Zealand Motor Corporation
which had closed its aging Newmarket plant in 1976 and Petone plant in 1982 closed their
Panmure plant in 1988. General Motors closed its Petone plant in 1984 and its Trentham
plant in 1990. 1987 saw a run of closures: Motor Industries International, Otahuhu, Ford
Seaview, Motor Holdings Waitara. Suzuki in Wanganui closed 1988 and VANZ at Sylvia Park
in 1997. Toyota Christchurch in 1996 and VANZ Wiri the next year. Finally in 1998 along
with Mitsubishi Porirua, bought from Todd in 1987, Nissan shutdown at Wiri, Honda closed
in Nelson and Toyota in Thames.Redundancies occurred in manufacturing industry; approximately
76,000 manufacturing jobs were lost between 1987 and 1992.==Second Hand Imports and Left Hand Drive
vehicles==In the early 1990s, import regulations were
relaxed and an influx of Japanese second hand vehicles occurred. These had a two-fold effect.
Second hand car prices collapsed and the New Zealand public were faced with a huge range
of Japan-only, low mileage motor vehicles, many of which were unheard of in neighbouring
Australia, where otherwise car trends were similar. The relaxation of regulations also
led to many imported American and European cars, trucks and SUVs. Despite being a right
hand drive country many left hand drive cars, mostly from the United States or Canada, could
be seen on New Zealand roads until 2001 when the New Zealand government introduced new
regulations requiring owners of LHD cars to have a special permit. Prior to this a permit
was not required to own and use a left hand drive vehicle. Accordingly, subsequently imported
LHD vehicles were required to be converted to right hand drive with some exceptions.
The two main exceptions are: Category A. LHD vehicles under 20 years of age that have been
recognised as special interest vehicles by the NZ Transport Agency and have been issued
with a Category A left-hand drive vehicle permit, and Category B. Light vehicles that
were manufactured 20 years or more before the vehicle was certified in New Zealand.==Local manufacturers=====From Trekka to date===Legislation had created a virtual closed shop
to local manufacturers with the large assembly plants of General Motors, Ford, Todd Motors
and Dominion Motors making it nearly impossible for indigenous start-up companies to compete.
Several ventures started making utility vehicles, mainly aimed at farmers such as the Trailmaker
(1965–71), the Terra (1967–1975) and the most successful the Trekka from 1966 to 1973.
Others in the same period attempted to make production cars like the Anziel and Hamilton
Walker’s Rotarymotive never got started. There was also a reasonably successful farm vehicle,
the three wheel Gnat Scarab. It was not intended for on road use.In 1974 two young Whataroa
brothers, Kevin and Rodney Giles, formed the Duzgo Manufacturing Company to make a small
two wheel drive light utility vehicle for use primarily on farms. Their creation, called
the Duzgo was made using assorted Austin and Morris parts, a single-cylinder Kohler 12
hp engine and a double gearbox giving 12 forward and three reverse gears. Later models used
a Robin 14–16 hp twin opposed engine. It was light and ran on knobbly motorcycle tyres
which gave it excellent traction in muddy farm conditions. In all 10 were made by 1979
before the Customs Department determined that they were a vehicle manufacturing business
and therefore needed to pay 30% sales tax on each vehicle. This effectively ended their
business. In 2004 a Duzgo featured in the BBC series Billy Connolly’s World Tour of
New Zealand. There is a Duzgo (possibly number 1) in the Coaltown Museum, Queen Street, Westport
and several still remain in use. Following in this tradition of farm utility vehicles
was the Avatar UTV, which began as a concept of Hamish Gilbert in 2009. The vehicles are
manufactured for Avatar in China.With the removal of all tariffs in 1998, new car companies
need to be able to compete directly against overseas competition. The most recent New
Zealand companies to try have been aimed niche markets. The first was Hulme in 2006, which
is aiming to create a model for the supercar market. Its website stated that the first
production model was expected to be completed in 2012. It was followed in 2013 by Martin
Foster’s Zetini Haast Barchetta, another sports car. In 2014 it was priced at $NZ215,590 plus
GST with a six-month lead time for delivery. Whether either of these companies has sold
any cars, as at May 2015, is unknown. In 2016 Mike McMaster designed and Magoos
Street Rods of Kuripuni, Masterton made wersion of the tuktuk. The three wheel machine used
a mix of Suzuki Swift and Harley-Davidson parts. He planned to initially build about
20 per annum.===Alternative fuel vehicle development===There have been several electric vehicles
developed in New Zealand, although none have made it into production. University of Canterbury’s
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering has been researching electric powered vehicles
since the 1970s, one by the University of Waikato called the UltraCommuter in 2008 and
the other in 1995 by Heron called the PC80 and made for the electricity supply company
Powerco. Canterbury Universitys first vehicle, EV1,
was registered for road use in September 1976. This was followed by a modified 1962 Austin
A40 Farina, renamed EV2, in the early 1980s. This underwent further development up until
2000. In 1999 Simon Round of the Department acquired a 1992 second-generation Toyota MR2
which was shipped to New Zealand from Japan. The project on this car, renamed EV3, began
in 2001 with the car being registered for road use in May 2006.The Engineering School
of Waikato University is continuing work on electric and solar-powered vehicles with a
Suzuki Carry being converted to electricity in 2014. The van was to be driven to Christchurch
to take part in New Zealand’s first electric motorsport event, Evolocity on 30 November
2014.Auckland University has been working on inductive power transfer technology for
a number of years. This provides a means of recharging electric vehicles without the need
for them to be directly coupled to a power supply. In 2013 Otago Polytechnic Associate
Professor Zi Ming (Tom) Qi along with students from the Polytechnic, the National Taiwan
University of Science and Technology, and China’s Shenzhen Polytechnic teamed to develop
an electric car which was driven by electric motors and had four independently turning
wheels. By November 2015 Qi announced that the car was being manufactured in China for
assembly in New Zealand.===Kit cars and replicas===New Zealand has a long history of small garages
and vehicle enthusiasts modifying and creating sports and sports racing cars. The Everson
brothers, who were noted for making New Zealand first indigenous twin engined mono-plane,
between 1935 and 1937 created a small two-seater rear engined car called the Everson Cherub.
Three different one-off models were made by the brothers. Ernest’s son Cliff built a variety
of Everson models from the 1960s to the 1980s. The most successful was his eight Cherub’s
that were similar in design to the Mini Moke. In the early 1950s, with the advent of fibreglass
bodied cars, a new opportunity arose for local companies associated with car enthusiasts
to create car bodies. Among these early manufacturers was Weltex Plastics Limited of Christchurch,
which imported a Microplas Mistral sports car mould and began making bodies and chassis
in 1956. They were followed in 1958 by Frank Cantwell’s Puma and Bruce Goldwater’s Cougar.
Also in New Zealand during this period, Ferris de Joux was constructing a variety of sports
racers. De Joux is noted in particular for his Mini GT from the 1960s.
Ross Baker’s Heron Cars started in 1962 making racing cars and eventually began producing
kit cars in 1980. Bill Ashton, formerly of Microplas and Weltex, joined with Ted George
in the 1960s and made the Tiki. Three were known to have been made. Graham McRae with
Steve Bond of Gemini Plastics imported a replica Le Mans McLaren M6B styled GT mould in 1968,
The cars were made and sold by Dave Harrod and Steve Bond of Fibreglass Developments
Ltd, Bunnythorpe as the Maram. McRae went on to make a very good Porsche Spyder replica
in the 1990s. A number of new companies entered the market
in the 1980s – Almac 1985, Alternative Cars (1984), Cheetah (1986), Chevron (1984), Countess
Mouldings (1988), Fraser (1988), Leitch (1986), and Saker (1989). Some recent ones are Beattie
(automobile) (1997), which became Redline in 2001, and McGregor (2001).
Two companies which specialise in making replicas of various models to order are Classic Car
Developments (1992) and Tempero. Both of these companies were noted for the quality of their
workmanship. Commencing in 2002, Coventry Classics Limited from Gore specialised in
making replica Jaguar C-Types.==
New vehicles registered and used imports registered==
(calendar years ended 31 December)==Museums and collections==
Bill Richardson Transport World Museum of Transport and Technology
National Transport and Toy Museum Nelson Classic Car Collection
Omaka Classic Cars Southward Car Museum
Warbirds and Wheels Yaldhurst MuseumBritish Car Museum
Classics Museum Hamilton East Coast Museum of Technology
Geraldine Vintage Car & Machinery Museum Highlands National Motorsport Museum
Monterey Park Motor Museum Northland Firehouse Museum
Packard Motor Museum Taranaki Aviation Transport and Technology
Museum==
See also==Driving licence in New Zealand
Kit and replica cars of New Zealand Licence plate lookup systems of New Zealand
List of automobile museums List of motorcycle manufacturers
Ministry of Transport (New Zealand) Motor Sport in New Zealand
New Zealand Road Code NZ Transport Agency
Transport in New Zealand Vehicle registration plates of New Zealand
VTNZ Deindustrialization
Automotive industry in Australia==Notes

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