Our Story

Welcome to Ebbett, where automotive passion converges with a rich legacy of excellence. Our story unravels with a dedication to providing unparalleled automotive experiences since 1928. As a proud New Zealand-based, family-owned automotive group, we've woven a narrative of integrity, innovation, and customer-centricity into the fabric of our brand. The storyline below is an overview of our history, uncovering the milestones, values, and driving forces behind Ebbett – a story that resonates with automotive enthusiasts and encapsulates the essence of our enduring legacy. Welcome to Ebbett, where the journey is as extraordinary as the destination.

1929
The Beginning

Ebbett Motors, established in 1928, was originally sandwiched between a Chinese laundry and a gunsmith’s shop in Hood Street.  They Focused on the popular General Motors products of the time; namely Oakland, Oldsmobile and Chevrolet.  These core marques secured the survival of a company bravely started during the world-wide depression by a young Alf Ebbett, who was later joined by his brother Ron.

1938
New Dealership

When General Motors decided to separate its two product lines in 1938, Waikato Motors Limited was formed to operate the Vauxhall/Bedford franchise from the original Hood Street premises, while Ebbett Motors moved to a newly built dealership on the corner of Hood and Anglesea Streets, to represent the Oakland, Pontiac and Chevrolet brands.

1939
World War II

The timing of the new dealership was unfortunate as within 12 months the world was at war. For the duration of the war, when no new vehicles were imported into the country, the two businesses shared the old Hood Street premises while the New Zealand Air Force occupied the new complex.

1952
Holden comes to New Zealand

Founder of the company, Alf Ebbett, dies at a young age in 1951. Holden and Ebbett formed a strong partnership in 1952; the same year Holden was first imported into New Zealand. Ebbett’s trucking business sourced and supplied some of the first milk tankers in the Waikato region.

1970s
Listed on the Stock Exchange

Ben van den Engel (our current CEO) joins the company as an apprentice mechanic.  The business is listed on the NZ stock exchange but the Arab-Israeli war and high oil prices spelt the end of GM dominance in the market.

1972
Holden HQ

Holden HQ is launched – The HQ is still the biggest selling vehicle range Holden ever made.

1980s
The crash

A roller-coaster decade. The business was privatised and then expanded rapidly (opening new dealerships in Greenlane and Milford).  Rapid contraction followed with the 1987 share market crash, leading to a withdrawal to just one dealership – Hamilton Holden. This was also the time Peter Brock was crowned King of the Mountain, winning Bathhurst 9 times.

1990s
Growth by acquisition

A series of purchases as Jim Wright, Waikato Toyota and Ebbett Tauranga (Bay Court Motors) were added to the Ebbett Group between 1996 and 1999.

2000s
A new wave

Ebbett exited heavy truck operations. The group also aquired Ridley Motors (Taupo), Counties Motorcourt (Pukekohe), Garry Keith Motors (Hamilton) and Team Capital (Wellington). The first of the new wave of dealership premises were built – Jim Wright Nissan in Te Rapa.

2012
Duncan & Ebbett

Duncan & Ebbett was established, representing Land Rover, Jaguar, Citroen, Volvo and Peugeot.

They later moved into a purpose built dealership in Te Rapa.

2016
Toyota, VW & Audi

Ebbett became 100% shareholders in Waikato Toyota and the business was renamed as Ebbett Toyota. Ebbett Toyota then expanded, opening a dealership in Morrinsville.  A new purpose-built VW/Audi dealership was also opened in Grey Street.  The Ebbett Group also acquired sole NZ distribution for Foton.

2018
Ebbett Toyota

Ebbett Toyota and Lexus of Hamilton moved to brand new dealership premises at Te Rapa.

An Ebbett Volkswagen Concept Store was also completed and opened in Pukekohe.

2019
New Te Rapa Dealerships

Construction starts on a large new Ebbett Hamilton and Ebbett Volkswagen dealership site, set to be opened in Te Rapa, as Ebbett continues to modernise and expand it’s dealership network.

2020
Holden & COVID

General Motors announce the Holden brand leaving NZ and COVID-19 hits. Despite this, Ebbett opened a new dealership in Porirua, acquire Karamu Holden in Hawkes Bay and added Kia, Hyundai, Isuzu, Renault and MG brands to our dealerships. We also opened our flagship Volkswagen dealership in Te Rapa, Hamilton.

2021
Grand Opening

Ebbett celebrated the Grand Opening of our brand new state of the art dealerships in Hamilton, housing Ebbett Hamilton and Ebbett Volkswagen on one new premises in Te Rapa. We also opened the doors on Ebbett Rotorua, Lexus of Tauranga, and Kia Napier. Ebbett Subscribe and Ebbett Finance was also launched to expand on the group’s offering.

2023
New Pukekohe Dealership Premises

February 2023 Ebbett Pukekohe moved into 6 Svendsen Road, now known as the largest Ebbett dealership, housing all their brands collectively in one convenient location, with a brand-new state-of-the–art service workshop and 4 new showrooms for Kia, MG, Nissan and Volkswagen.

2023
New Rotorua Dealership Premises

In April 2023 Ebbett Rotorua moved from 152 Lake Road into their brand new, purpose-built, premises at 270 Ngae Road, Rotorua. This new state-of-the-art, multi-brand showroom houses Kia, Volkswagen, Skoda and MG.

January 2024
GWM Pop-Up Dealership in Pukekohe

Ebbett Group is thrilled to announce the opening of a new GWM (Great Wall Motors) pop-up dealership in Pukekohe. Located at 257 King Street, Pukekohe. The newly established GWM dealership in Pukekohe has taken over the premises previously occupied by Volkswagen and MG.

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