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4WD specialist meets growing demand

4WD specialist meets growing demand
Canterbury Cars has more than 50 pre-driven vehicles on display at its yard in 97 Main South Road.

Specialising in 4WD, Utility and SUV vehicles, Christchurch’s Canterbury Cars Ltd has been successfully helping its clients throughout New Zealand find the right vehicles for the last 40 years.

Established in 1980, Canterbury Cars has steadily evolved from a small yard in Lincoln Road displaying a handful of vehicles to its current yard in 97 Main South Road with over 50 pre-driven vehicles on display.

Initially focused on New Zealand new vehicles, Managing Director Paul Larsen says that the arrival of Japanese Imports into the Country in the mid 1980’s helped advance the company’s growth.

A decision in the early 1990’s to concentrate efforts on 4WD and Utility vehicles to meet a growing demand for that type of vehicle established a market niche, which Canterbury Cars continues to be well recognised for.

“We imported all those kinds of vehicles till 8 years ago when rule changes to vehicle emissions impacted on diesel imports.

“The market got a bit harder in respect to 4WD’s so I went back to my industry roots, buying vehicles directly from franchise dealers within New Zealand.”

Today Paul travels the depth and breadth of the South Island, occasionally venturing into the North, purchasing trade-in vehicles from franchise dealers and some wholesale and lease companies.

While a small percentage of imported vehicles are still stocked, they have been in the country for a number of years and are once again being offered for sale.

Stocking a selection of all makes and models including Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Isuzu as well as some of the Chinese models such as Great Wall and Fotons—Paul says Canterbury Cars tries to appeal across the 4WD, Utility and SUV market.

“We do sell cars too—but predominantly our market is 4WD and for the last few years we’ve become known for our pre-owned Utility vehicles, SUV’s and such like.

“That’s worked very well for us. The vehicles all have good history and we know where they’ve been.”

On-line sales through the company’s website have become an increasingly important part of the business with Canterbury Cars offering a free delivery service South Island wide and into Wellington for its North Island customers.

With a good cross section of vehicles priced between $8000 to $40,000 and model ages starting in the early 2000’s with a few later model vehicles, the team at Canterbury Cars prides itself on the quality and presentation of its pre-driven vehicles.

Many of the team members at Canterbury Cars have been with the company for 10 years or more, accumulating a deep level of product knowledge.

“One of our strengths is that we will match the vehicle with what the customers requirements are.

“Customers often have a particular make and model of vehicle in mind but when they tell us what they want to do with the vehicle we know the vehicle would not match those requirements—particularly with new tow ratings and safety requirements.

The team will not sell something that won’t do what the clients want it to do.” After 40 years in the industry, Paul says that it’s now very much about the relationships and friendships that are created buying vehicles throughout New Zealand.

“After so many years in the business, we have a huge client base with the people that we’ve dealt with and a large percentage of our business is repeat business now. Our staff have a great rapport with our customers—we just get on and do the best we can for people.”

Having stood the test of time, Canterbury Cars looks forward to its future, offering the same level of quality pre-driven vehicles, service and care to its customers.

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