Business Profile: Acacia Motorhomes


MCD speaks to Jonas Ng to find out more about Acacia Motorhomes and what's in store for the future for this motorhome business

New Zealand is often described as a melting pot of cultures and nationalities, with Auckland being one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Acacia Motorhomes in Auckland is a fine example of how cultures that may be polar opposites geographically, can come together to create a successful business.

Acadiamotorhomes

Jonas Ng, Acacia Motorhomes owner, is an Asian businessman, selling German-built motorhomes and caravans in New Zealand, which is as far away from Germany as you could possibly get. And what’s more, he’s not just doing it; he is doing it very well.

About Acacia Motorhomes

New -image

Acacia Motorhomes began when Jonas sold his first motorhome from his garage at home. His first customer was a church pastor who had returned to New Zealand after years of missionary service in the Pacific Islands. He wanted to see New Zealand and decided a motorhome was the best way to do it.

In fact, the church played a key role in the fledgling business. In 2013, Jonas arranged to use the rear carpark of the church to which he belonged, to store, display, and sell his range of Dethleffs motorhomes.

This worked well while he was establishing Acacia Motorhomes, but by 2016, they had outgrown these premises. Jonas had plans to move to his own premises in Pokeno, but getting council approval and then building the facilities could not happen fast enough.

So in November 2016, Acacia moved to a space behind RSE in Takanini. This was followed by a move to their current address at 36 Smales Rd, East Tamaki in August 2017.

Next move to Pokeno

Jonas -and -team2

"If everything goes to plan, our next move to Pokeno, in the first quarter of 2018, will be our last," Jonas says. "There, we will have our own service workshop, a parts department, a showroom big enough to display 10 or more motorhomes, alongside offices and a client reception area—all on a 4800sqm sales yard."

When I said this was quite a big step up from the car park behind the church, Jonas quietly pointed out how necessary it was. "We are now the biggest importer of German motorhomes in New Zealand. Our best-known brand is Dethleffs.

Their slogan, ‘A friend of the family’ highlights their appeal as a mid-range motorhome.

"Frankia, mostly built on Mercedes-Benz, is a step up in quality and also appeals to owners who prefer rear wheel drive. Already the well-equipped Frankia Platin has found a niche in the $300K market." Jonas says.

Untitled -4839

Acacia is about to launch two more premium German motorhome brands into the New Zealand market. The first is another Erwin Hymer Group product—the top of the range, Rolls Royce of motorhomes—the Niesmann + Bischoff brand.

"The quality and design of this product has to be seen to be believed," Jonas says. He has one currently available for inspection in their Auckland yard.

The other new brand is the Morelo, due to arrive at Acacia in late January 2018. "This is a relatively new brand that grew out of an ownership change of another German manufacturer," Jonas explains.

"We can’t wait to show off the first Morelo when it arrives in the New Year. It has the latest 205hp Iveco turbo diesel motor driving the rear wheels through their latest eight-speed automatic gearbox. Morelo is a first-class motorhome that is among the best in the world. Now we have a unique range of motorhomes from entry level through to super premium with something to tempt all buyers," Jonas says.

Acacia Motorhomes dealers

Over the past couple of years, Jonas has appointed dealers in other parts of New Zealand for the Acacia range of motorhomes and caravans. Brent of Central RV based in Taupo took up the Dethleffs caravan agency for the North Island and DeLuxe Group of Blenheim
has the South Island agency.

UCC Motorhomes have the South Island agency for Dethleffs, Frankia, Niesmann + Bischoff, and Morelo motorhomes.

As well as spreading the word for Acacia’s RV brands, having agents across the country provides a small but dedicated team of servicing people ready to attend to any problems that arise with their RVs. Service personnel from all the agencies have been to or are about to go to Germany for service training.

Dethleffs Owners Club

The Dethleffs Owners Club began in 2014 as a means of bringing Dethleffs owners together for an annual social get-together. Last year (2016), 75 motorhomes came to the event. Some members decided once a year wasn’t enough and they’ve organised informal monthly get-togethers.

Recently, in recognition of the new brands in the Acacia Motorhomes stable, the club has been renamed to the ‘Acacia Motorhome Club’. This year, the gathering takes place over Labour weekend at Lake Karapiro, with a themed dinner—Cowboys and Indians—hosted by Acacia motorhomes planned for the Saturday evening.

McRent motorhome rentals

Untitled -4837

Continuing on the theme of diversification, earlier this year, Jonas gained the partner rights for McRent motorhome rentals in New Zealand.

McRent currently operates in 14 European countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, Poland, the UK,
and Ireland. They claim to be the largest European motorhome rental operator with 70 rental stations.

McRent’s European hirers will start arriving here in November 2017 at both their North and South Island depots.

The current northern depot, alongside Acacia Motorhomes in Smales Rd, will move with them to Pokeno next year. Their other depot is at Lot 17, Greywacke Road Harewood, not far from Christchurch International Airport.

Untitled -4841

Having depots in both the North and South Islands means they can offer one-way hires from one island to the other. Their start-up fleet of 60 new vehicles is a mixture of two-, four-, and six-berth Dethleffs motorhomes between 6.5 and 7.5 metres long.
With the help of his hardworking sales and service crew, Jonas has crammed a lot into the five years since his first sale and he has accomplished it on his own, in what was then a strange land but is now home, without a network of family and friends supporting him.

Now he moves into a new phase. "This is an exciting new opportunity," Jonas says. "I had a small rental operation before, but this will be a bigger, smarter operation. And we have an exceptional promotional backup from McRent’s marketing team. It’s a challenge and I am looking forward to it."

Keep up to date with news by signing up to nzmcd.co.nz's free newsletter or by liking us on Facebook