Industry stalwarts selling up

Industry stalwarts selling up

postdateiconWednesday, 21 August 2013 12:29 | postauthoriconWritten by Richard Edwards |


As Rod Milner takes steps to build a new dream facility, Mike Mapperson is looking to downsize.

Well known trader, and one of the founders of the import trader, Rod Milner, has put his iconic Ellerslie site up for tender – as he moves towards building his dream facility.

The site includes yard space, two houses, and commercial buildings.

Milner says the sale of the land is by no means a sign that he is looking to exit the industry – despite being a pensioner.

“No, I am too young to retire, and too old to want to retire,” he told AutoTalk. “You die if you retire with nothing to do.”

What Milner wants to do – should he get the right money – is continue his work with disability vehicles, something that started with his late wife ending up in a wheelchair as a result of cancer.

“We want to build a better facility for our disability vehicle business, more than just the vehicles,” he says. “It will have a coffee shop, sell ancillary items such as mobility scooters and perhaps even have a picnic area.”

It will be designed to be accessible to those in wheelchairs or with other disabilities.

“That is the dream,” he says. “It depends on how much money we get (for the Ellerslie properties).”

He says the company has now largely pulled away from importing or selling ‘standard vehicles’ – although he does still handle some such as Toyota Funcargos, that are functional for the disability market.

Milner will be looking for a new site, one with a large building, ideally in the same area or towards the centre of Auckland.

The current site, he says, is simply too valuable for the current operation.

“We have an acre of land here and it would be absolutely superb for a big dealership, or a four-story building,” Milner says. “For my type of operation the land is still expensive.”

Bayley’s Mike Adams, a former dealer principal himself, says thinks the automotive trade will be competing with other sectors for the land.

“I think the automative industry will be competing against other sectors,” he says. “It has the potential to go to a big dealership, or go to a completely different type of business.”

“There is strong inquiry levels, from within the automotive business and outside.”

Find the listing for the property here

Meanwhile another well known yard is also up for tender – if the price is right.

Grey Lynn’s Cooper Cars, owned by Mike Mapperson and Brian Sullivan, have put their great North Road site up for tender, again with the intention of moving rather then exiting the industry.

The sale comes with a caveat.

“We will sell only if the best offer is good enough for us,” Mapperson says.

If it does sell, a smaller site, probably a warehouse, is the likely option for the partnership.

“If we move it will be somewhere small,” Mapperson says. “I am 70 and Brian is 65, so we will be moving towards something that is slightly-more part-time.”

Find the Cooper Cars listing here:


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