There's been a bit of a splash at Suzuki New Zealand's headquarters in Whanganui; the marine division has come back on board.

Simon Meade, Suzuki's general manager for motorcycles and ATVs, has added the marine division to his responsibilities.

"It's 19 years since we had it here at Suzuki," Meade said.

"We relinquished it in 1999 due to a change in distribution structure. We had the opportunity to have it back in Whanganui which is really, really good to bring it in with our motorcycles and motor vehicles.

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"We started working with the dealer network on September 1. It's pretty hectic. We've taken on 25 new dealers. We're probably the biggest motor distributor in the country when it comes to dealer representation. We have 43 motorcycle dealers, 35 automobile dealers and now 25 marine dealers and there's the parts distribution as well."

Suzuki had taken on two extra staff and would add more, Meade said.

"One new staff member worked for the previous distributor in Australia and has relocated to New Zealand," he said.

"It's a specialist area. After 19 years there are quite a few changes in technology. The majority of engines are now 4-stroke. When we left the market, 4-strokes were only just starting to enter the market."

The 4-strokes range from 2.5 horsepower to 350hp. There is also a small range of 2-stroke engines, between 9.9hp and 40hp.

Simon Meade is now responsible for the marine division as well as motorcycles and ATVs. Photo / Stuart Munro
Simon Meade is now responsible for the marine division as well as motorcycles and ATVs. Photo / Stuart Munro

Since taking the division back in-house, Suzuki's first sale has been to Coastguard Wanganui whose boat is being repowered with two engines of the latest technology, using electric signals instead of cables.

Also keeping it local, Whanganui Engineering and Marine has been appointed as a new dealer.

Meade has owned a lot of boats and is involved in waterskiing.

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"But I'm on a steep learning curve because I have to understand the marine market in New Zealand. There's a large recreational market but also a large commercial market.

"It's good for Whanganui. It's a really positive thing."