Special feature: Kobelco NZ HQ opens

By: Ed, Photography by: Ed

Kobelco NZ officially launched its company headquarters in Aotearoa, further solidifying the brand’s future in the NZ construction landscape

Kobelco NZ officially opened their New Zealand headquarters in early August 2023, with a contingent of company dignitaries, staff members, suppliers, and local contractors on-site
to support and acknowledge the evolution of the well-known brand.

Following on from Kobelco’s rise to take a leading position in the Australian market, the company decided that similar opportunities existed over the ditch, and their action has resulted in a new sales and distribution system for the brand in New Zealand. Kobelco NZ’s general manager Jason Cann was on hand to show Deals on Wheels and other media representatives around the new premises.

The site

The new headquarters are located at 8 Great South Road, Takanini

Selection of the site at 8 Great South Road, Takanini was well-thought-out by company strategists who chose to position it a stone’s throw from Auckland’s Southern Motorway and, thanks to the Huntly bypass, only a one-hour drive from Hamilton.

Not only will the company benefit from the highly visible site, but it will also place Kobelco close to a wide swathe of rapidly developing land and numerous potential customers virtually on their doorstep.

The site stands on around 12,000 square metres of fully sealed ground, with the office and service centre complex having a footprint of 3000 square metres.

"Our service centre can accommodate up to 15 large machines at any one time, and an even larger number of smaller ones, if necessary," says Jason.

On the day of our visit, some 30 or so mini excavators were sitting in the service area alongside four larger machines.

Excavators, excavators, excavators

The service centre can accommodate a large number of machines at any one time

Taking up a significant amount of outdoor space on the day of the official opening must be more than 70 new models, in what must be one of the largest-ever displays of one brand, one machine type in New Zealand. According to Jason, another 30 machines are still on the water to New Zealand, so the sizeable backing from the parent company is a strong indication of their serious intentions to disrupt the local equipment market.

The equipment on display ranges from trailerised minis through to large models ready for civil construction and others waiting to be kitted out for forestry work.

With the large stock numbers, Kobelco NZ will be in a position to attract new customers who cannot afford the delays associated with ordering on indent and then waiting for an excavator to arrive. Most buyers should find something that suits their application already sitting in the well-ordered rows.

$3m investment in parts

$3 million has been invested on parts and consumables

One move to secure more business from existing customers and entice new ones to think green is the additional investment Kobelco has put into ensuring a supply of parts is close at hand. Thoughtfully, the company has planned and installed additional racking to allow for future expansion.

"The company has invested three million dollars into stock, so customers can feel secure that they have the ability to access parts and consumables as required," says Jason, as he sweeps his arm past the large storage racks.

The official opening

Masahi Sasaki (international operations, Kobelco Japan), Tadahiro Akihara (manager, international operations, Kobelco Japan), Yoshihisa Yamashita (general manager of international operations, Kobelco Japan), Paul Torrington (managing director, Kobelco Australia) Jason Cann (general manager, Kobelco New Zealand), and Hideki Kinugawa (head of global sales and marketing, Kobelco Japan)

On-site at the official opening, Kobelco assembled four executive and staff members from head office in Japan: Hideki Kinugawa, head of global sales and marketing; Yoshihisa Yamashita, general manager of international operations; Tadahiro Akihara, manager of international operations; and Masahi Sasaki, international operations.

They were joined by Paul Torrington, managing director of Kobelco Australia, who along with Jason Cann filled out the top positions for the brand on the day.

A brief speech was given by Jason on behalf of the New Zealand business before the ribbon was cut by Hideki Kinugawa, officially launching Kobelco NZ. This was followed by a short speech from Paul before Hideki surprised guests with an impressive grasp of the English language. This was followed up by a presentation of two ‘Kobelco’ All Black rugby jerseys
to Hideki and Yoshihisa by the building owner. If the two recipients’ expressions were anything to go by, the gift idea was well-played indeed.

Customer experience

New trailers wait for mini excavators

Alongside Kobelco company representatives, staff, and suppliers, a number of customers were on hand to experience the hospitality and find out how the new sales and distribution model will affect their businesses.

Judging by the standard of dress, most customers arrived direct from job sites and those spoken to showed positivity for the brand and a sense of vigour around growing the Kobelco presence locally.

With several of the sales reps and service personnel having been associated with the brand previously, Kobelco NZ is starting with a large established customer base, and it will be those and many other grassroots decision-makers who will be supporting the new venture.

"I’m really excited about the future of Kobelco here in New Zealand. The company has attained the number-one spot in excavators in Australia, and we’re looking to replicate that here," says Jason.

If what the brand currently has in New Zealand is anything to go by, then there’s certainly a bright future ahead for Kobelco NZ. 

For more information, contact 0800 333 229 or visit kobelco.co.nz.

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