Petrolhead profile taking shape

By Mike Barrington

The Porowini Ave extension is beginning to morph into Motor City Whangarei.

It has a long way to go to resemble big automobile sales centres in the US or Japan, but with Northland Toyota expected to join Ford and Mazda dealers there by July the avenue is picking up a petrolhead profile.

And as former Northland rugby coach and Blues assistant coach Bryce Woodward said yesterday: "It's the same everywhere in the world - car dealers all set up in one place and everyone feeds off each other."

Mr Woodward and longtime Whangarei Holden dealer Mark Cromie bought Northland Toyota with a company they formed in October last year called Crowood Ltd, which they own 50-50 together with their wives.

Mr Woodward is managing director of Northland Toyota and Mr Cromie maintains a director's overview of both that company and his Mark Cromie Holden firm.

Northland Toyota was bought from Scott Adams 2001 Ltd, part of the Miles Toyota group owned by Bruce Miles, of Christchurch.

Northland Toyota had been given notice to vacate its site on the corner of Carruth and Robert Streets, owned by the Northland Regional Council, and Crowood Ltd could not get an extension from the site leaseholder.

Unable to find an existing building which would suit their purpose, Messrs Cromie and Woodward looked for freehold land and finally settled on a property on the northeast side of Porowini Ave opposite the new Ford and Mazda dealership.

While the property is larger than needed, the vendor did not want to subdivide so the Crowood pair bought the lot and will look at how to use the excess land once the design of the dealership has been finalised.

Having a blank canvas is exciting and gives the dealership an opportunity to build a classy showroom. But while the two men are determined to build something that befits the Toyota brand and helps them provide quality service, they are also keen to keep costs down.

The new premises will include a fast lube bay, a complete tyre service and brake-testing equipment to streamline the warrant of fitness lane.

Mr Woodward said the fast lube bay would be a new concept to Whangarei, providing customers with new oil and filters so quickly they would be hard pressed to enjoy a complementary coffee before the work was completed.

Whangarei engineers and architects Hawthorn Geddes and the Reyburn and Bryant planning and surveying company which Mr Woodward once managed are doing the surveying and designing the new Northland Toyota premises which local builders are expected to begin constructing soon.

- Northern Advocate

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