Not Just About Cars


John Hutchinson is a man with a passion for people, vehicles and giving back to his team and community. The recently opened redevelopment of the Team Hutchinson Ford showroom and workshop in central Christchurch is testament to that.     

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  • Sitting in the greenway between Colombo and Manchester Streets, it is hard to believe you are in central Christchurch, let alone in the middle of a car dealership and workshop. While the entire six-block length of the South Frame Greenway strip boasts beauty and accessibility, what sets this section apart is its sense of calm, achieved from the overarching roof and the gentle hum of the small hole-in-the-wall café, Parts & Labour. Blending effortlessly into its surrounds while casually drawing a crowd, it is the perfect place to people-watch, sip a coffee, and just pause. It is exactly what John Hutchinson envisioned. 

  • Team Hutchinson Ford, formerly Hutchinson Motors and Ford Motors Canterbury, has occupied the same site in Christchurch for over a hundred years. It is what John believes to be ‘the best location in Christchurch’ and he isn’t wrong. It is central, it is expansive and more recently has been carefully crafted to offer something for every car user. But the last 11 years have been a challenging journey to achieve and retain this. 

    In the wake of the Canterbury earthquakes the redevelopment plan of central Christchurch initially saw all car dealerships removed from the central city. ‘We had been on this site for generations,’ explains John, ‘so we were obviously passionate about remaining and working with the government to achieve a solution.’ 

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  • Part of that solution was a nine-metre section of the proposed South Frame Greenway (that would ultimately connect the East Frame at one end with Ōtākaro/Avon River and Hagley Park at the other) dissecting his site, ultimately separating the showroom from the heritage-listed workshop. However, solving the greenway strip was only the tip of the iceberg for John and his team who were also facing a large-scale earthquake repair and strengthening project.

  • ‘We had five buildings on the site at the time of the earthquakes,’ continues John, ‘and between earthquake damage and the deconstruction required to accommodate the greenway, we had a big project on our hands.’

    First up was the showroom. ‘Our service department was off-site for two years,’ explains John, ‘and our sales team have worked from port-a-com for over 10 years!’ But the cold and challenging conditions have been worth it, with the 1970s showroom building having been transformed into a light, open space that is a delight to walk around in, let alone work in. ‘We have gone from a 13-car showroom to a 6-car showroom, and for the 10 years in between had a one-car showroom,’ laughs John. ‘It is testament to our loyal clients and hard-working team that we were able to successfully navigate through.’

    Continue reading on Latitude magazine page

    Article credit to Latitude Magazine, Words - Lucinda Diack.



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