Business profile: Zion Motorhomes

By: Bill Savidan


NZMCD talks to proprietor Jonas Ng to know more about Acacia Motorhomes rebranding to Zion Motorhomes earlier this year and their move to a new premises in Pokeno

For some time, Jonas Ng, New Zealand agent for Dethleffs, Frankia, Morelo, and Niesmann+Bischoff motorhomes, wrestled with the idea of a new name for his business.

The impending move to the company’s new premises in Pokeno acted as a catalyst. The old name, Acacia, was at the start of the alphabet. The new name, Zion, came from the end of the alphabet.

"Moving from A to Z symbolised the notion that my brands offer something for every buyer, every model, and every style," Jonas says. Zion is also an everyday reminder of his Christian faith. The new company logo represents Mt Zion with a man standing on the summit, arms outstretched. "That’s me!" he says with a grin.

New base in Pokeno

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In an interview last September, Jonas spoke of moving his motorhome business, in the first quarter of 2018, to his own premises in Pokeno. Like most current building projects in Auckland, it has taken longer than planned, but the move is now complete, and the business is fully operational. It has been a long journey, from the churchyard in Howick to RSE’s backyard in Takanini, to Smales Rd in East Tamaki, to a temporary yard in Pokeno, and finally to their the new premises at Gateway Park Drive, Pokeno. But it has been worth the delay.

A 1000m2 building on a fenced, level 4800m2 site is the new home for both the Zion Motorhome sales and McRent motorhome rentals. The vehicle showroom will occupy 400m2 of the new building, with room to display around 10 vehicles. Vehicle sales and McRent will occupy separate sales offices and customer lounges. Three workshop bays that serve around 10 vehicles at a time for vehicle prep and service, a parts department warehouse, and management offices occupy the balance of the new building. The securely fenced yard will house stock newly arrived from Europe, McRent units between hires, and customer vehicles in for service.

Looking ahead, as he does so well, Jonas has his eye on another plot of land: "Just in case we need more room to store more vehicles," he says. And if things keep going the way they have been, Jonas may need that extra room quite soon.

Extra activity and more tasks to be done inevitably require more staff so Jonas’ team has grown to 10 in Pokeno, with two more in Christchurch looking after McRent.

Zion Motorhome brand portfolio

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Dethleffs remains the number one contributor to annual sales. Under its slogan, ‘A friend of the family’, the brand continues to carve out a significant portion of the New Zealand motorhome market.

The other three brands, Frankia, Morelo and Niesmann+Bischoff, each make healthy contributions. "They have different features that appeal to different buyers," Jonas says.

"For instance, Frankias are built on a rear wheel drive Mercedes chassis with a fully automatic gearbox. Morelos, on the other hand, are built on rear wheel drive Ivecos with their stunning eight-speed auto gearbox while Niesmann+Bischoff stick to the ever-popular Fiat with the AL-KO low frame chassis. These three brands are premium products and measure up to the best Europe and the UK has to offer. And our new first-class facilities for displaying these products here at Pokeno mean prospective buyers can examine them in detail, come rain or shine."

McRent

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McRent customers also benefit from the new facilities: comfortable seating, complimentary tea or coffee, and a chance to freshen up in the spacious restrooms. Staff will find vehicle preparation a lot less stressful now they have top-grade facilities to work in.
At the end of last rental season, McRent sold 55 of the 60 units in the rental fleet. "They sold quickly," Jonas says, "because they were near-new, had low kilometres on the clock, and were competitively priced."

Five units were kept back, which will join the new fleet for next season.

The new fleet should arrive from Europe by the end of August, ready to be rented from both Auckland and Christchurch departure points. Their South Island depot is at 54 Greywacke Road Harewood, not far from Christchurch International Airport. Having depots in both the North and South islands means they can offer one-way hires from one island to the other.

Owners club

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Now embracing all the motorhome brands, the Zion Owners Club continues to offer owners the opportunity to meet and get to know each other while enjoying the benefits of their motorhomes. The next season’s rallies get underway in October when, hopefully, the weather will be warmer and drier.

Sales agents

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In Taupo, Brent of CentralRV has the Dethleffs caravan agency for the North Island running at full steam. Active at both the Mystery Creek Field Days and the Covi Show in Auckland,

Brett has consolidated his position as the go-to North Island man for European caravans.
UCC Motorhomes continues their good work as the South Island agents for Dethleffs, Frankia, Niesmann+Bischoff, and Morelo motorhomes. Both provide a small but dedicated team of servicing people ready to attend to any problems that arise with their clients RVs.

These are exciting times for Jonas and his team. "Last year, we launched McRent Motorhome rentals," Jonas says. "This year, we launched Zion Motorhomes and McRent in our new premises at Pokeno. And during this time, we have done our best to keep both our new and existing customers happy. Now we can invite them all to visit us and enjoy our new facilities in Pokeno."

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