French tyre manufacturer Michelin has taken a quarter-stake in Hamilton-based wholesaler Tyreline Distributors and retailer Beaurepaires at a time when New Zealand's new car sales have been at record highs.
The French tyre giant bought a 25 per cent stake in Tyreline and Beau Ideal, trading as Beaurepaires, from the Rushbrooke family for an undisclosed sum, building on a 20-year relationship that's seen Tyreline go from distributing Michelin earthmoving and industrial tyres, to the Tyreline retread factory becoming the first accredited Oceania facility to produce Michelin branded tyres.
The Rushbrookes have kept a 75 per cent share of the businesses, and Tyreline managing director Grant Rushbrooke said Michelin shares his vision of providing mobility solutions rather than simply selling tyres.
"It demonstrates Michelin's commitment to the New Zealand market and their confidence in both Tyreline and Beaurepaires as sustainable partners," Rushbrooke said in a statement.
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"The partnership and investment from Michelin puts the Tyreline Group in a very strong position for future growth."
Grant and Barbara Rushbrooke established Tyreline Distributors in 1989 in Te Awamutu as an agricultural distributor and have built the business to where it's distributing tyre and lubricant brands including Michelin, BFGoodrich, Mitas and Shell Lubricants. In 2013 the Rushbrookes bought 52 Beaurepaires stores from US tyre maker Goodyear & Dunlop Tyres.
Michelin Asia Pacific director Hock Sen Chan said the long-standing relationship between the companies encouraged the French firm's investment.
"We share the same values of respect of customers and innovation, and we will work together to explore new avenues of business and progress for the automotive market in New Zealand," Chan said.
"Our investment is to reinforce our commitment to Tyreline and to the New Zealand market, promoting daily safer and better mobility for all the New Zealand consumers."
New Zealand's auto industry has been marking record annual sales of new vehicles over the past four years as a strong dollar cuts the cost of imports, an expanding population needs private transportation and growing tourist numbers stoke demand for rentals.
Government figures show retail sales of motor vehicles and parts rose 9.4 per cent to $12.43 billion in the year ended March 31, 2017, accelerating from a 4.9 per cent pace of growth the year earlier.