January 20 2020 – A new Mitsubishi vehicle sales, service and parts business is to open in Ashburton next month (February 2021) following a joint venture agreement between Christchurch-based Morrison Cars and Ashburton agribusiness group Carrfields.
The new joint venture company, Morrison Mitsubishi, will acquire Smallbone Ltd, which has operated in Ashburton for over 100 years.
Following the acquisition, Morrison Mitsubishi will begin operating a full-service Mitsubishi sales, service and parts operation in February, to be located at the current Smallbone premises at 177 Archibald Street, Tinwald.
All Smallbone Ashburton staff are being offered positions in the new business, which will also continue to provide Holden parts and service for the next 10 years.
Craig Carr, Carrfields Group Managing Director, says he is delighted to partner with Morrison Cars, which is a well-established business operating new & used vehicle sales and service centres in Christchurch and Rangiora.
“We’re very pleased to have formed an agreement with Morrison Cars and to be bringing the Mitsubishi brand to Ashburton together. To date, Mitsubishi has only been represented in Ashburton via service agents, so we are very happy to now be able to offer a full-service sales, service and parts operation and bring the highly-respected Mitsubishi brand into our group of businesses.”
Mike Morrison, Director of Morrison Cars, says partnering with Carrfields and entering the Ashburton market is a logical step for the business.
“With the success of our existing operations in Christchurch and Rangiora, it made sense to look at expanding into Ashburton, which is a strong growth district and allows us to cover a wider customer catchment from Mid to North Canterbury. We also have family ties in the area, with many of our family members living in Ashburton and surrounding localities,” Mr Morrison says.
“We’re very happy to be partnering with Carrfields, a well-established and trusted business which shares our family values and integrity. When your values align as strongly as ours do, you know it will be a successful and enduring partnership.”
Daniel Cook, Chief Operating Officer of Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand, says it is exciting to bring a full sales and service dealership to Mitsubishi’s important Ashburton customers.
“Mitsubishi Motors has been New Zealand’s fastest growing vehicle brand over the past 10 years and we have built a strong base of loyal customers in Ashburton. It’s exciting to now partner with Morrison and Carrfields to further lift our service to the Ashburton area. Our range of SUVs and LCVs is well suited to rural New Zealand and this joint venture will bring the very best in customer service for Mitsubishi owners in Ashburton and the surrounding area.”
Carrfields Group would also like to farewell Bob Grant, Executive Director of Smallbone and Carrfields’ former joint venture partner in the Smallbone business.
Bob is retiring after nearly 50 years of service to Smallbone, first as an employee, later as a 100% owner of the business and in recent years as a 50/50 joint venture partner with Carrfields, says Mr Carr.
“We have enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Bob which has been highly positive for both the Smallbone and Carrfields teams, as well as to Smallbone’s many customers in mid and south Canterbury. It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside Bob over the years and we wish him all the very best for his well-earned retirement.”