Wed, Jun 9, 2021 12:06 PM

The Car Company turns 25

The Car Company Team: Alex Oliver, Heath Scott, Shane Drummond, Damien Taylor, Ben Brownie, Phil Eagle and Jamie Taylor.

Staff Reporter

When Shane Drummond started selling $2000 second hand cars for himself in 1996 he was a young, passionate salesman who wanted nothing more than to strive for excellence.

37 years in the industry, twenty-five at The Car Company, that strive for excellence is still a cornerstone of the company that sells more second-hand cars than any other in the top of the south.

The Car Company celebrates its 25th birthday this month. It was founded by Shane and his wife Sarah and has gone from a two-man operation to one of the largest car dealerships in the country.

With 27 staff, three branches, over 500 vehicles in stock at all times and well over 25,000 cars sold, it’s been one heck of a ride for the man affectionately known as Drummy.

And in typical Drummy fashion, he wants to use the Car Company’s birthday to give back. There are over 25 $100 vouchers to give away and every vehicle at every branch is reduced, trade in deals and much more.

With three branches on Rutherford St, Tahunanui and Richmond, the Car Company is an institution in the region that has grown to include the Money Company for finance, a workshop and a grooming wing.

The type of vehicles being sold has also changed, with the Car Company being electric and hybrid vehicle specialists as well as owning the franchise for SsangYong and LDV.

Young Drummond Family: Nicole, Shane, Sarah and Mitchell Drummond. (taken approx '98).
Young Drummond Family: Nicole, Shane, Sarah and Mitchell Drummond. (taken approx '98).

Over the past 25 years the Car Company has helped tens of thousands of Nelsonians into new cars, being known for making it easy to buy a car by being a “one stop shop”.

But it isn’t just selling cars where the Car Company excels, it is a huge contributor back to the local community. The Car Company is a major sponsor of rugby, cricket, bowls, basketball, and countless other community groups, schools and organisations.

Women’s Refuge is another organisation that benefits from the Car Company’s generosity, donating $50 per vehicle sold one month a year plus other initiatives through-out that month. Since 2010 they have raised over $137,000 for the local organisation.

Anyone who knows Drummy knows there’s countless other projects outside of his work at the Car Company that he’s helped with or ran for the benefit of the community, like the first ever All Blacks test match in Nelson.

But it didn’t start like that. It started in a general store in Motueka.

“My first job after leaving school at 16 was at Whitwells in Mot, I did pretty well there so they flicked me across the road to their other store selling whiteware and appliances. I set up a record section and car accessories in that store and did pretty well there too.”

But cars were what a young Shane wanted to sell so he wrote a letter to Henry Houston, then-dealer principal at Houston Motors.

“There wasn’t a job going but I told him I wanted one, he came out to Motueka to see me, without telling me he was coming and asked to speak to me. He offered me a job but I’d already decided to head to Perth with a mate for our OE, I told him he’d have to give me 24 hours to decide. He couldn’t believe it and I came back to him the next day and said ‘yes, lets go’.”

The late Henry remains his most influential mentor. From there Shane quickly made an impression, winning the award for top Sales Manager for Mitsubishi throughout the country.

Promotions to sales manager positions and offers to buy into the company came but Shane wanted to run his own ship.

So, in 1996, on a plot of land he bought in Nile St, a 30-year-old Shane started selling cars for himself.

“They were cheap cars but the two of us there did really well and soon enough I was pretty keen to expand.”

Over the years, the Car Company has had – believe it or not – 25 different sites throughout the region. The most recent bought just last month, another on Rutherford Street.

But Shane says it’s the people that makes him the proudest.

"We’ve had several staff here that have been with us for more than 20 years and another four that have been here for more than 10. That says something, I think. I like to give people opportunities to thrive, the rest is up to them but we give that opportunity.”

Family and staff remain crucial to his values.

When asked, he says the one client that really sticks out over the 25 years is Russells Curtains owner Bill Liddell, who has bought more than 50 LDV vans off him as well as countless other vehicles.

“Bill was already a customer, we’d helped him into a couple of second hand vans for his business then he went on a trip to the UK, he came back saying that he’d seen this LDV van over there that he really liked, he heard they were coming to New Zealand and suggested I look into it. I told him that he was right, they were coming to New Zealand because I had gained the franchise off them and the rest is history. I like that story because he’s another great Nelson business that has grown so much and is now all over the country.”

While Bill is just one happy customer, Shane reckons the secret to the Car Company’s success is the “three Rs” repeat business, referral and recommendation, we sell to sell again!

“We really strive to make sure that every customer is well looked after, that every sale is a great experience and we do that time and time again. I’m proud of that and proud of how we do business.”

25 years unveils a new chapter with Ben Brownie coming on board as a shareholder and taking on a leadership role in the company, adding to his many year’s experience managing the Richmond branch.

“Ben is now general manager and a full time buyer. He’s a great guy and really good at what he does, he’s a bit different to me, he’s more hyperactive but he has a great way about him and that’s exciting for the future of the business”.

So with 25 years down, Drummy sees the next 25 years as building on its already strong foundations.

“We have the fundamentals, it’s impossible to have the same growth we’ve had over the past 25 years but I think we can maintain our position in the market as being honest, reliable and for getting things done.”

If you’re looking for a new vehicle, then now is the perfect time to take advantage of the Car Company’s 25th birthday generosity. Head down to either of their three yards to check out their huge range of vehicles, you won’t regret it.