Closing car doors on a long career

Gary Bates goes into semi-retirement and hangs up his keys.

Gary Bates goes into semi-retirement and hangs up his keys.

CLOSING TIME: A familiar face on the Gisborne motor vehicle dealership scene for four decades, Gary Bates will close his Palmerston Road car yard in September after the land and buildings have been sold. Picture by Paul Rickard

A STALWART of the Gisborne motoring industry, Gary Bates, will be closing the doors on his Palmerston Road premises in September after the sale of the land and buildings to Party Hire.

Mr Bates will not be getting out of the motoring world altogether. He is retaining the car yard he owns at Kaiti but will stepping back from day-to-day management after 50 years in the industry.

Mr Bates said that while seven staff had lost their jobs, their quality was such that they had been snapped up by other employers.

He has made servicing arrangements for his clients and says that arrangements are being made to service Suzuki, Kia and Subaru.

These are popular brands and will be taken up by other dealers, he says.

Gary Bates was 24 when he came to Gisborne just on 50 years ago from Hamilton with his friend Fred Lewis. The two started a panelbeating and wrecking business before buying Johnstone Motors. They also had yards outside Gisborne.

Wainui Road yard

They later went their separate ways but Mr Bates returned to the industry, opening his Wainui Road yard 34 years ago. He bought Bloggs Motors from the late Ian Shaw, who had been the original owner of Eastland Toyota.

Mr Bates continued to operate the Palmerston Road yard for 20 years. The new owners will take over from September 9.

The sale will allow Mr Bates more time for golf, something he has not been able to pursue recently. He has a lifestyle block at Ormond and will keep an eye on the Kaiti yard.

Now 74, he said it was time to get away from the day-to-day pressure of running a car yard and franchise.

While operating his firm, he has been a major sponsor of sport including rugby — which he played for one season here with Pirates — bowls and golf. He also supported the Coastguard, whose rescue vessel carried the company name for a time.

Mr Bates believes the motor industry in Gisborne is in a healthy state, with good sales in the Kia and Suzuki franchises.

That is partly due to a move to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles with small, efficient diesel and petrol vehicles, returning fuel consumption figures as low as hybrids.

While there is a future for electric vehicles, he sees it as being some time away, particularly in an isolated place like Gisborne, with long distances to travel to other centres. At the moment they are not convenient.

The change in motoring preferences has also seen many of the traditional buyers of large six and eight-cylinder sedans moving to double cab utes or SUVs.

Mr Bates said he had enjoyed his time in the motor industry and while in some ways he was sad to be winding down it was the right thing for him at this stage of his life.

A STALWART of the Gisborne motoring industry, Gary Bates, will be closing the doors on his Palmerston Road premises in September after the sale of the land and buildings to Party Hire.

Mr Bates will not be getting out of the motoring world altogether. He is retaining the car yard he owns at Kaiti but will stepping back from day-to-day management after 50 years in the industry.

Mr Bates said that while seven staff had lost their jobs, their quality was such that they had been snapped up by other employers.

He has made servicing arrangements for his clients and says that arrangements are being made to service Suzuki, Kia and Subaru.

These are popular brands and will be taken up by other dealers, he says.

Gary Bates was 24 when he came to Gisborne just on 50 years ago from Hamilton with his friend Fred Lewis. The two started a panelbeating and wrecking business before buying Johnstone Motors. They also had yards outside Gisborne.

Wainui Road yard

They later went their separate ways but Mr Bates returned to the industry, opening his Wainui Road yard 34 years ago. He bought Bloggs Motors from the late Ian Shaw, who had been the original owner of Eastland Toyota.

Mr Bates continued to operate the Palmerston Road yard for 20 years. The new owners will take over from September 9.

The sale will allow Mr Bates more time for golf, something he has not been able to pursue recently. He has a lifestyle block at Ormond and will keep an eye on the Kaiti yard.

Now 74, he said it was time to get away from the day-to-day pressure of running a car yard and franchise.

While operating his firm, he has been a major sponsor of sport including rugby — which he played for one season here with Pirates — bowls and golf. He also supported the Coastguard, whose rescue vessel carried the company name for a time.

Mr Bates believes the motor industry in Gisborne is in a healthy state, with good sales in the Kia and Suzuki franchises.

That is partly due to a move to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles with small, efficient diesel and petrol vehicles, returning fuel consumption figures as low as hybrids.

While there is a future for electric vehicles, he sees it as being some time away, particularly in an isolated place like Gisborne, with long distances to travel to other centres. At the moment they are not convenient.

The change in motoring preferences has also seen many of the traditional buyers of large six and eight-cylinder sedans moving to double cab utes or SUVs.

Mr Bates said he had enjoyed his time in the motor industry and while in some ways he was sad to be winding down it was the right thing for him at this stage of his life.

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