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When James Davey bought a small engineering business in Rangiora he kept in mind a piece of advice one of his previous bosses had given him. In engineering it’s good to have a product to work on in the quiet times, something you can sell.
So when someone wanted to buy a V8 trike that James had been building for himself in the workshop, he took the offer. And spotted an opportunity to make and sell beautifully designed and manufactured bespoke V8 trikes. Fifteen years on “I still haven’t got a trike for myself” he says with a laugh.
The trikes are unique, luxury vehicles and as well as individuals buying them for their own fun, they are also popular with tourism operators. There are businesses across New Zealand that offer people the chance to ride on James D v8 trikes for tours of anything from half an hour to a full day.
The company currently build to order and make around five trikes a year, James wants to increase the figure as well as expand his range of trikes. They make a three-seater and five-seater trike and early next year James plans to start designing a smaller two-seater model.
They also have export plans. “We are gearing up to sell into Australia” says James, “It’s one of the hardest markets to get into for vehicle manufacturers as there are so many regulations. We’ve been working toward this for a long time”.
New markets and new models will also mean expanding the premises and streamlining their manufacturing process so that they can make more trikes in less time. They will, in effect, have a basic production line operating from their Flaxton Road premises. “We’ll be manufacturing vehicles right here in New Zealand” says James, “nobody else is doing that”.
James has a great team around him, “the key to any business” he says. But growth of this sort doesn’t come easily and he has found working with a business consultant has been invaluable. “I contacted Enterprise North Canterbury and Miles put us in touch with a bank manager and helped us with funding for a business consultant, which has been great. So we meet with the consultant regularly to sit down and go through the nuts and bolts of things. It’s been a real help”.
Longer term expansion plans mean James has an eye on the Middle East markets, as well as extending his range to include accessories such as trailers for the V8s and merchandise.
From a quiet corner of Rangiora this is a brand set to go global.