Business profile: Leo Leonard Motors

By: Cameron Officer


Business profile: Leo Leonard Motors Business profile: Leo Leonard Motors
Business profile: Leo Leonard Motors Business profile: Leo Leonard Motors
Business profile: Leo Leonard Motors Business profile: Leo Leonard Motors

A large selection of trucks and market knowledge that is second-to-none makes Leo Leonard Motors a proven source for sub-20-tonne trucks of all types.

A familiar name in the used truck market, Leo Leonard and his team at Leo Leonard Motors have been supplying small trucks to a variety of industries for many years.

Adapting and responding to the way small and medium businesses add to its fleets has been crucial to this Timaru firm’s ability to remain a byword for good quality sub-20-tonne used trucks in a competitive market.

A realisation early on that it’s no longer about the bricks-and-mortar showroom has proven a key component of that adaptability.

While the family firm has been based on the main road into Timaru at Washdyke for some years now, Leo concedes a physical showroom is less important these days than a comprehensive online presence and a good distribution network to back it up.

"We try to have our full inventory available to view online at all times," he says.

"We used to import 100 percent of our stock, but now we travel the countryside sourcing individual trucks. It can be a logistical challenge, but we have a number of colleagues and contacts available to collect and deliver anywhere in the country."

Smaller trucks measuring less than 2.7 metres-high are generally driven to Christchurch and transported to the North Island via rail.

"We’ve seen changes in the way people purchase trucks online over the last few years," adds Leo’s son Mark.

"While three or four years ago, someone enquiring about a truck online would invariably fly down to have a look at it in the metal before buying, now buyers tend to make a decision based on what they see online.

"I think that shows that people trust the internet more as a tool these days than they used to. It certainly makes things straightforward for us and that’s why we like to have our entire inventory online."

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Leo says around 80 percent of the company’s business is through repeat customers and Leo Leonard Motors now boasts customers in every part of New Zealand.

"People know us as 20-tonne-and-under specialists and I think they also recognise we like to diversify our stock.

"While we try to keep around a hundred trucks in stock, there are so many variables. The majority of customers we deal with aren’t prepared to wait three weeks for their truck to be delivered; they need it tomorrow in order to keep their business ticking over, so it’s important that we’re able to meet that expectation."

The company stock all manner of Hino, Isuzu, Nissan, Mazda, Toyota and Mitsubishi trucks; Leo and Mark have always traded in Japanese trucks exclusively because of their reliability, fuel efficiency and popularity in the small truck sector.

Everyone on the Leo Leonard Motors team is mechanically minded and as soon as a sourced vehicle arrives at the Timaru base, it’s given a mechanical and cosmetic going-over.

"Minor dents and scuffs go with the territory," says Leo.

"They’ve been used and – in many cases – abused, so it’s up to us to sort them out and make sure they’re as good as can be for the next part of their service life."

While Leo started selling cars back in the mid-’60s and has been well-known among the motor trade for decades, he has never looked back since switching the business over to focus on trucks nearly 20 years ago.

"We know that a truck might sit on our yard for some time before finding that elusive buyer, but we have the market knowledge and experience to know that it has attributes that will appeal to a certain sector of the market," concludes Leo.

"There is always something out there that’ll meet a client’s needs. And we’re very good at finding it."

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