Kia opens new Whakatāne dealership
By Kia Motors New Zealand Jun 30th 2020
Strong growth, a great line-up of new models and continued confidence in the future of Kia prompted the decision by the Nicholson family to bring the South Korean brand to the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
Dean Nicholson and his brother, Ross, have welcomed Kia to their recently established dealership in the centre of Whakatāne. It means car buyers in the region can now access Kia right on their doorstep.
“Our strategy is to build on the reputation we have in Whakatāne to enable our local community to be able to source vehicles in their own town and we’re very pleased we can now offer them Kia, as well as being able to support local employment – we will be increasing our numbers slightly in line with the arrival of Kia,” says Dean Nicholson, CEO of Whakatāne Kia.
The plans were interrupted by the Covid-19-induced lockdown but with the country now back to normal operating levels, the move has now been completed. And it coincides with a strong performance by Kia following the re-opening of the economy, where it has seen sales increase.
“Kia has become a really strong brand and it complements our business and suits our image,” says Mr Nicholson.
“It’s a top-quality product that also provides value for money and we know it is going to be very good for the people and businesses of Whakatāne and the surrounding districts.
“It’s a very progressive region, with a number of different industries based around here that we support through our activities. There is a lot of iwi development going on, tourism, forestry, dairy farming, beef farming, kiwifruit and honey is big, too. We also have the big mills at Kawerau.
“We’re very impressed with the Kia model range – especially SUVs like the new Seltos, Sportage and Sorento – they will have a lot of appeal in this area where there is a strong demand for SUVs.”
Mr Nicholson says the decision to bring Kia to Whakatāne was prompted by the strength of the brand and the investment being made by Kia Motors to grow its business in New Zealand, supported by projections of even stronger growth in the future.
The establishment of Kia in Whakatāne comes at an exciting time for both the brand and the local dealership, with the recent introduction of the Kia Seltos compact SUV, which has quickly established itself as a best seller in this market. It also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Nicholson family business, which was started by the late father of Dean and Ross in 1980 in Morrinsville and has expanded over the years.
The Whakatāne Kia site at 152 Commerce Street, Whakatāne boasts an impressive multi-vehicle showroom with a modern lounge providing coffee/refreshments and Wi-Fi for customers.
It includes a well-equipped service centre that is being upgraded in line with the requirements of Kia Motors. This includes provision for the expansion of EV vehicles in the future and additional training for staff on the new technology, following the recent announcement by Kia Motors of a worldwide plan to ramp up its electric vehicle range over the coming years.
Todd McDonald, Managing Director of Kia Motors New Zealand, says the expansion of the Kia brand into the Eastern Bay of Plenty is an exciting opportunity for all concerned.
“Dean and his team have greatly impressed us with their extremely professional customer-oriented approach, which reflects the philosophy of Kia Motors,” he says. “We are very pleased to welcome the Nicholson team to the Kia Motors family and we look forward to the expansion of our brand in the region.”