Chris Bowater, happy that all the Bowater Motor employees continue to be employed. Photo: Supplied.

No job losses expected as Honda leaves Bowater group


There’ll be no loss of jobs once the current Honda facility on Elm Street has gone through its reconstruction to bring all of Honda’s existing operations together in the one location in Stoke.

“Making sure all of the Bowater Motor’s employees still had jobs was of paramount importance,” says Bowater Motors chief executive, Chris Bowater.

With the local Honda dealership having been part of the Bowater Motor Group for over 47 years, the decision by Honda New Zealand to consolidate their operations has a direct impact on the Group including the closing of Bowater Honda’s dealership doors in October.

“While I’m personally sad to see Honda leave the Bowater Group after more than 40 years, it has been a privilege to work so closely with the senior Honda NZ team,” says Chris.

He adds that ensuring his award-winning team of Honda salesman still had jobs ‘was a bit of a mission’ to bring to fruition but was a priority and has been achieved.

“All of the Bowater Motors employees will remain in Nelson, with jobs either being offered with Honda or with the Bowater Motors Group,” says Chris.

The reconstruction and consolidation to take place at the Elm Street facility in Stoke mean all of Honda’s assembly and fit-out operations in the region will remain but will be consolidated so that all service and sales are in one place. A part of which is to be a new retail concept store.

“This week we have written to each of our customers to let them know that by November this year all Honda NZ services will move to our Stoke site,” says Honda New Zealand’s managing director, Nobuya Sonoda.

Sonoda said staff numbers remained stable at the Nelson site and none of its staff are being made redundant nor working reduced hours due to this move.

“This move is about strengthening our Nelson operation and reflects our commitment to the New Zealand market says,” Nobuya.

The New Zealand Motor Corporation acquired the franchise for Honda back in the mid-1970s. And most of the output of cars from the former Nelson Motor Vehicle Assembly Plant on Quarantine Rd in the 1980s was Honda.

“Regretfully, after 47 years our partnership with Honda New Zealand will come to an amicable and mutually agreed, end,” says Chris.

But adds that even though they will be a leaner organisation going forward, they will actually come through the changes in good shape, more focused and determined than ever to continue to successfully serve the Nelson / Tasman communities for many more years to come.