Changes for Southern Motor Group

Southern Motor Group’s new dealer principal Craig Brook (left) and managing director Ken Cummings...
Southern Motor Group’s new dealer principal Craig Brook (left) and managing director Ken Cummings at its Andersons Bay Rd premises in Dunedin. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Changes are afoot at Southern Motor Group in Dunedin.

From today, Honda New Zealand has taken ownership of the dealership for all customer sales and services in the city, following a recently announced change in a direct sales business model.

Southern Motor Group, which has had the Honda agency for 29 years, is a long-standing dealership founded by Ken Cummings.

It continues to operate with its current suite of brands, excluding Honda, from its premises in Andersons Bay Rd.

Mr Cummings was pleased all existing Honda staff were either staying with Southern Motor Group or transitioning to Honda New Zealand, and there would be no redundancies.

Change was also in the wind for Mr Cummings who, keen to spend more time with family and in Central Otago, has handed the dealer principal role to Craig Brook, saying it was the "right time".

Mr Brook, who was previously dealer principal at Southern Honda, had "earned the opportunity" to cross the road and manage a much larger operation. He had the experience and a great following with people, Mr Cummings said.

While stepping back, Mr Cummings would continue as managing director and continue to be involved in his other dealerships in Invercargill and Queenstown.

Mr Cummings obtained his motor vehicle dealer licence in December 1973 and sold his first car in February the following year.

He described the recipe for business success as surrounding himself with good people — and a good, old fashioned work ethic.

Mr Brook enjoyed the people aspect of the industry — those he had worked with over the years, including many long-term staff members, and the customers.

"For me, it’s all about delivering a good customer service."

Business was going well and while there had been difficulties sourcing stock, that was improving, Mr Cummings said.

Most dealers were experiencing some form of stock delays. While that was happening, they were making the best of what the new vehicle supply was, and putting extra effort around used and near-new vehicles which they had more control over sourcing.

Covid-19 border control measures had been a major stimulus to the number of vehicles being sold and, when borders re-opened, he believed there would be a levelling off.

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