Toyota New Zealand

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Toyota New Zealand Limited is the importer and distributor of new Toyota and Lexus vehicles to New Zealand. It also imports used vehicles from Japan and refurbishes them at its former assembly plant in Thames.

Until 1998 it also assembled a variety of completely knocked down vehicles from imported and New Zealand materials.

Administration is from Palmerston North. There is a national sales office and import administration office in Auckland.

Local Manufacturing[edit]

See Automotive industry in New Zealand

From the mid 1960s Toyota sold a variety of its vehicles to its New Zealand sole agent, locally owned vehicle import-licence holder[note 1][1] and vehicle distributor Consolidated Motor Industries incorporated in November 1965. Toyota owned no New Zealand import system or distribution or dealership chain but worked towards acquiring a shareholding in Consolidated. Consolidated Motor Industries was renamed in November 1970 Consolidated Motor Distributors.[note 2][2][3]

Consolidated Motor Industries (Cable Price Downer and Wright Stephenson later a part of Challenge Corporation) arranged for the completely knocked down Toyota vehicles to be assembled by Steel Motor Assemblies in Christchurch —first vehicle was a Corona in February 1967,[4] and Campbell Motor Industries in Thames —first was a Corolla in April 1968.[5] Over the next 25 years Toyota slowly acquired ownership of these three businesses completing acquisition in 1992 and during that intervening period when they gained control of them renaming them Toyota New Zealand (previously Consolidated Motor Distributors), Toyota New Zealand Christchurch and Toyota New Zealand Thames.[3]

Locally produced components were also used, and included items such as tyres, seats, trims, glass, car audio and consumable items. Vehicles that were locally assembled were Corolla, Corona, Crown, Hilux, LiteAce, and HiAce.[citation needed] Assembly ended in Christchurch in September 1996 and in Thames October 1998.[5] Toyota's remaining factory at Thames became a refurbishment centre for the resale of used imports from Japan, designated as Signature Class.

During 1998 tariffs on cars imported fully assembled ended as the final step of a long-term New Zealand Government plan for the industry. The remaining four local assemblers — Mitsubishi (June),[6] Nissan (July),[7] Honda (August)[8] and Toyota (October)[5]— all ended local assembly and switched to importing fully built-up vehicles.

Cars manufactured in Australia, including Toyota Australia's Camry, were already being imported into New Zealand duty-free under the Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement.[9]


New Vehicles[edit]

New Toyota and Lexus vehicles are sourced from Japan (Corolla, HiAce, RAV4, Yaris, Land Cruiser, 86, Previa, Prius), Australia (Camry and Aurion), England (Avensis), Thailand (HiLux, Fortuner, Corolla)and the United States of America (Highlander).[citation needed]

Used Vehicles[edit]

Toyota New Zealand imports used Toyotas purchased in Japan and certifies them to specific standards at the Thames Vehicle Operations facility. Ex-lease Toyotas originally sold new in New Zealand are refurbished and sold under Toyota NZ's "Signature Class" brand.[10]


Toyota New Zealand sells new Toyota and Lexus vehicles as well as used vehicles, parts and service. The key operations are at three widely separated locations: the National Customer Centre in Palmerston North, Signature Vehicle Operations in Thames and a Port of Entry facility and Corporate Sales Office in Auckland.[citation needed] In 2014 Toyota celebrated 27 years of vehicle market leadership in New Zealand.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Import licensing announced in 1938 and introduced in 1939 allowed the government to issue licences in such proportions and to such persons or businesses as it might choose. Local businessmen convinced officials of the low prices and high quality of Japanese vehicles and licences were issued. It was politically unacceptable to issue new licences directly to foreigners or to strip licences from New Zealand owned and operated businesses in favour of foreigners.
  2. ^ and, as shareholders changed, Toyota New Zealand Limited in May 1979.


  1. ^ Controlled Imports. Press, Volume LXXIV, Issue 22579, 8 December 1938, Page 10
  2. ^ Select: view previous names
  3. ^ a b A McEwan, ‘’Developing Economies’’ Archived 2016-06-04 at the Wayback Machine. Heritage Consultancy Services report to Thames-Coromandel District Council 2010
  4. ^ Patrick Harlow, New Zealand Manufactured Cars, Wilsonscott, Christchurch 2013 ISBN 9781877427510
  5. ^ a b c 75 Years of Toyota accessed 22 April 2016
  6. ^ A very long Relationship accessed 22 April 2016
  7. ^ Greater Manukau accessed 22 April 2016
  8. ^ Building a Car Community Nelson Mail 14 March 2009 accessed 22 April 2016
  9. ^ Trade, corporateName= Department of Foreign Affairs and. "Australian High Commission in". Retrieved 2018-02-20.
  10. ^ Signature Class

External links[edit]