Local company is Dealer of the Year

South Auckland Caravan Centre owners Glen and Tania O’Donnell are pleased to have taken a top prize from their Aussie counterparts. Times photo Nick Krause

An East Tamaki caravan and recreational vehicle (RV) business has been named New Zealand Dealer of the Year at the Jayco Australian-New Zealand dealer conference in Melbourne.

The South Auckland Caravan Centre picked up four awards in total. As well as the NZ Dealer of the Year – which the company has won 10 times – it won the 200 New Sales Club Award (more than 200 sales), Outstanding Achievement Award and Wells Fargo Award (based on turnover) out of Australia and New Zealand.

It’s an enormous step up from the company’s humble inception 14 years ago.

Owners purchased South Auckland Caravans Ltd in 2005, with the Jayco Auckland agency.   Jayco is the number one selling RV brand in Australia where they are manufactured.

“We had three staff and owned two caravans.  Our original site was in Takanini which had been there for 50 years,” said Tania.

“In 2013 we moved to East Tamaki to a bigger site at 53 Springs Road and we have been progressively growing as a business.”

South Auckland Caravans now has 22 staff and three locations – also on Springs Road. The expansion over time was necessary as they outgrew the current 5800sq m site which can hold 80-odd RVs/caravans.

The company easily qualified for the 200 New Sales Club Awards registering 262 units delivered although there were a total 302 actually sold. On top of that, they also sold  around 250 used units.

To qualify for The Outstanding Achievement Award, companies must have experienced sales increases of more than 20 per cent. South Auckland Caravans hit the 32 per cent sales growth mark.

And there doesn’t appear to be any sign of business slowing. Trends are showing retired and semi-retired people are selling their homes and choosing the freedom of a luxury RV. “We’re seeing couples who are committing to touring the country now while they still can,” said Glen.

“They’re not just taking the money, we’ve had a professional couple opting for a complete life-change.”

Technology has also seen many changes to the RVs and caravans with modern units now fitted with ‘JHUB’ control panels which brings together next-gen recreational vehicle technology in one central, easy-to-use interface.

This week the company advances this tech interface further when it takes delivery of all new vehicles which will interact with mobile phones.

“These are exciting times and it’s wonderful to continue to see the business grow,” Tania said.