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The people behind the New Zealand V8 scene: Alan Lee Group

6 January 2017

 

NZV8: Hey Alan, looks like you guys are pretty much a one-stop automotive shop!
Alan: Correct, we are. I started the business in 1982, doing automotive and electrical repairs, and have essentially continued to grow it ever since. Being based in Te Puke, it really helps our customers to be able to do the whole lot under one roof instead of having to travel out of town. We were originally in the main street but moved around the corner to our current location in 1988, and extended in 2000.

By the look of it, you do more than just electrical and automotive repairs now.
Yes, Complete Hose and Hydraulics Ltd and Auto One, Bay of Plenty, are part of the group, too. We’re also an approved Bosch Service Centre through our Bosch Car Service arm.

Sounds as if that’d keep you busy. How many staff do you have?
We’ve got three in the mechanical side, one auto electrical, one on the hose and hydraulic side, and two in parts and admin, so that’s seven, including me. 

You must be one of the longest serving in Te Puke?
We are, but we don’t push that — we just try to keep a low profile and work on providing good old-fashioned service with a smile.

Good to hear that service isn’t dead!
Not at all; regardless of whether you’re just popping in for a WOF, have major tractor repairs, are wiring a custom car, or are after parts, we look after you with the same service — no matter what.

Offering such a range of services, you must get quite a mix of customers?
For sure; never a dull day. From hot rods to classics to late-model stuff, there’s always something interesting to look at. We never turn a job away for being too big; there’s no such thing for us. Of course, the bread and butter is the run-of-the-mill servicing and the like, but we’re well versed in dealing with older and more interesting cars. There’s always a mix of farm equipment coming through the doors, too, some of which we’ve done plenty of custom work on for the local kiwifruit orchards. 

So, you’re not aligned to any one particular brand?
Not at all. Holdens, Fords, American, British — we’ll work on the lot. If it’s got wheels or an engine, we’re in.

What type of parts can you offer through the Auto One side of the business?
It’s unlimited, really. Auto electrical, mechanical, tools, and oils, through to accessories such as seats, steering wheels, and alarms; you name it. Auto One has a great website, but the advantage of heading in store is that people can discuss their needs and make an informed purchase. We’ve got years of experience, and you just can’t find that online.
Through our auto-electrical side, we offer batteries and other electronic components as well as fault diagnosis and repair right through to things like full rewires and air-conditioning repairs. 

It really does sound as if you’re a one-stop shop. Surely, there are no plans to get even bigger?
No, not at this stage. The business is a great size as it is — not so big that we don’t know our customers but not so small that we can’t offer a full range of parts and services. For now, we’ll continue as we have been, and keep providing the unbeatable service that our customers have come to know and love. 

Sounds like a great plan. Thanks for your time, Alan.

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of NZV8 (Issue No. 129). Grab yourself a print copy or a digital copy of the mag now: