Hall of Fame Inductee 2012

Ron Carpenter

Born in Hamilton in 1941, Ron later moved to Palmerston North where at the age of 26 (1967), he set up his own homed based used truck sales business. Palmerston North Motors Ltd had a successful first year, achieving sales turnover totalling $26,000.

In 1972, with import licensing having been removed Ron accepted the New Zealand distributorship for Mack Trucks Inc USA. By concentrating on the fundamentals of supply of parts and service, over the next decade, Ron’s success story began. Contrary to industry norm; no dealers, branches or premises existed – salesmen and servicemen operated from their own homes with mobile service vehicles throughout New Zealand.

Regulations required final vehicle assembly to be done in New Zealand, so Ron elected to operate CKD (completely knocked down) involving only parts import and full first manufacture in New Zealand, giving the ability to custom build every truck. The Palmerston North manufacturing plant, in conjunction with the Mack Worldwide system, exported completed vehicles to the Pacific Islands, followed by Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Yemen, earning it substantial unpublished tariff concessions.

A name change to Motor Truck Distributors Ltd occurred commensurate with being a leading market participant. In 1987 the 1000th Mack truck was assembled and delivered, and Ron was awarded “International Distributor of the Year”.

The mid 80’s saw Ron acquire further New Zealand distribution rights for ER, Renault, Hino and MAN, giving access to product sourced in each of the five major world trading currencies, offering price competitiveness in diverse markets.

Each franchise operated separately with the service and parts supply organisation, Truck Stops NZ Ltd operating its own branches and workshops. A second assembly plant was established during the mid 80’s in Carterton handling ‘small’ trucks – Hino, and under contract Ford (being rebadged Hinos), assembling almost 1000 trucks per annum.

In 1988, with combined sales nearly 40% of the New Zealand new truck market, Ron accepted an offer for the sale of the business.

One year later, Ron founded Truck Leasing Limited, which now trades as Fleet Partners. In 1992 Trailer Rentals was formed, now known as TR Group Limited, and headed by Ron’s son Andrew Carpenter. The company grew from leasing two 2 tonne trucks in the first 18 months to a fleet size in 2012 of approximately 3,500 vehicles.

Jim Barker
Neil Clarke