Gethings; car sales and service station
When Gethings Motors closed in November 2017, they were reputedly Upper Hutt’s oldest business.
Evan and Martha Gething migrated from Birmingham to Masterton when their son Ken was five, then moved to Upper Hutt, where Ken attended primary school, and then Hutt Valley High School.
The firm was founded by in 1932, selling and repairing bicycles and washing machines, and running a taxi and rental-car service. They bought the property four years later, and added petrol pumps and car services.
Ken trained in accountancy and worked in a Wellington bank. He served during World War 2 in anti-aircraft artillery in the Pacific, and married Jenny in February 1945. When Evan Gething had a stroke, Ken took over the business, and ‘in spite of a lack of hands-on knowledge’ ran and grew the business for 32 years until he retired in 1980.
Evan died in 1948, aged 41.
Gethings' first car franchise was from Dominion Motors in 1963; Morris and Pontiac (and other Chrysler Corparation?) cars. By 1982, New Zealand Motor Corporation supplied British Leyland's Morrises and Rovers. Hondas appeared in the mid- 1970s, and eventually dominated.
Ken’s son Colin joined the business in1970, after leaving Heretaunga College in 1968 and working at Magnus Motors in Lower Hutt; another New Zealand Motor Corporation agency. Colin bought the business in 1986.
In the mid-1970s Gethings had also taken on Hondas, when they first arrived in New Zealand.
Magnus Motors opened a branch on the corner of King Street and Fergusson Drive in 1969, and also sold Austin-Morris cars and Hondas; ownership later changed to New Zealand Motor Corporation, which had the national British Leyland and Honda franchises. The Upper Hutt branch closed in December 1980; Gethings had been NZMC agents, and once again had the local franchise to themselves.
In 1989 Honda only offered two models, and supplies of these were limited, so Gethings changed their agency from Honda to Mitsubishi; At that time there was no existing Mitsubishi dealership in Upper Hutt, and Mitsubishi offered around 20 different cars and 20 commercial vehicles.
Two years later, in December 1991, Gething's Motors was named the number one Autokit parts dealer in the 65-strong Mitsubishi dealer network after only two years. In addition, the firm was also a finalist in three of seven other categories in the annual awards among Mitsubishi franchise holders. Mitsubishi Motors general manager dealer services, John Leighton, said the placings are an outstanding performance, particularly since Gething's Motors had changed from a Honda dealership to a Mitsubishi franchise only two years before.
In 1997 Gethings won the prestigious title of Mitsubishi Diamond Dealer of the Year for the second time running.
In 1999 they closed their service station and began work to expand other parts of the business into the forecourt area.
Gethings also advertised Smart cars, starting in November 2003, and also sold two-wheelers.
The November 1, 2017 ‘Leader’ printed a Mitsubishi advertisement announcing the closure; the parts and service dealership would be taken over by the Brendan Foot Supersite at 488 Fergusson Drive.
And the November 8 issue printed a history, and an interview with Colin Gething, now 67; the firm had only 14 ‘heavily reduced’ used cars to sell.
Gething's Motors, 58-64 Main Street, close their service station and expand other parts of the business.
Gethings Motors Ltd; Colin and wife Pamela with Colin's father, Ken; changing agency from Honda to Mitsubishi.
Gethings Motors, Main and Wilson streets; Mitsubishi Diamond Dealer of the Year for the second time; Colin and Pam Gething.