New Zealand Automotive Investments aiming to rival Turners, NZX listing tipped

A second-hand car dealership is gearing up to become a major player in the automotive and finance markets, with aspirations to rival the country’s other main used-car group Turners Cars.

New Zealand Automotive Investments (NZAI), which has used car dealership 2 Cheap Cars as a subsidiary, is understood to be preparing for a direct listing on the NZX.

The company has appointed vehicle finance expert David Page as its CEO and has today announced a new board with a view to growing its multimillion dollar retail finance book. Page has a family background in the car industry and has more than 25 years of asset finance and banking experience, including consumer, motor vehicle and commercial asset finance.

NZAI is the holding company for both 2 Cheap Cars and New Zealand Motor Finance (NZMF).

Founded 10 years ago, 2 Cheap Cars has grown to one of the country’s largest used car dealerships and now sells around 10,000 cars a month through 12 dealerships. It was established by Eugene Williams and David Sena who say they recognised that New Zealanders were paying too much for their cars and saw an opportunity to disrupt the industry.

2 Cheap Cars now imports about 8 per cent of all used cars into the country using a dedicated team of buyers in Japan.

Plans to grow multi-million-dollar finance business

NZMF was set up in 2019 to service around a third of its used-car clients who wanted finance which amounted to more than $30 million of financing annually through third-party finance companies.

The company now wants to grow its own finance company, resulting in reduced costs to customers.

NZAI has appointed a board of directors to work with Page on the expansion. Karl Smith, a professional independent director with more than 40 years of corporate and governance experience, was appointed as chair of the board in September last year.

His current directorships includeVetNZ Limited, Halls Group Ltd (chair), Hamilton Jet and Forthill Property Ltd (chair). He recently came off the Ports of Auckland Board.

Smith has significant experience in helping founder-led or family-run companies grow to the next stage. As well as sourcing affordable cars for the local market, the company would also be focused on supporting climate change, Smith said.

“With a growing percentage of our cars now being hybrid electric and electric vehicles, we will play a crucial role in helping Kiwis adapt and secure affordable vehicles that meet the future requirements set by the New Zealand Government.”

Sales of hybrid and electric vehicles had almost doubled in the past 12 months and the company had averaged 100 sales a month since last September.

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