A NEW era in the Echuca-Moama car industry began this week when Thompson Motor Group officially took over the Holden dealership here.
The Shepparton-based Thompson Group is also planning to bring the Nissan range back to town after it disappeared in May.
It signals the end of D’Alberto Motors with outgoing dealer principal Ezio D’Alberto handing the reins to the Thompson Group.
Thompson Motor Group has owned the Nissan dealership in Shepparton since 2003 and the Holden franchise since 2007.
The group’s owner Jarrod Thompson said he was excited about branching into Echuca-Moama.
‘‘I love this area,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s fantastic. What we’ve built in Shepparton we want to bring here and expand on that.
‘‘It’s a very vibrant area with tourism that’s going ahead and it’s a good fit for us with what we’re doing.
‘‘We’ll be able to share resources and stock between here and Shepparton and give the community in the twin towns more opportunity to get the model they want, which is a big plus.’’
Mr Thompson said the workshop in Echuca was state of the art and praised the entire operation.
‘‘As complicated as this is (the changeover), this has been smooth because the facility here is really good,’’ he said.
‘‘To purchase a dealership with a facility of this standard with a huge showroom makes the process a lot easier.’’
Mr Thompson said there would not be any major changes that customers would notice in the way the dealership operated.
‘‘We want to put used cars on the block next door so we’ll be doing works with the sealing of the yard and set it up a different way,’’ he said.
‘‘When new owners come in things may look a little different but there’ll be nothing too major, just our own little changes.’’
One of the changes is the arrival of Nissan which is one reason why Matt Spurgeon has been appointed general manager of the dealership.
Mr Spurgeon has worked with Nissan Australia for more than 20 years and it was in his role as the Nissan zone manager for Country Victoria that he first met Mr Thompson in 2003.
Mr Spurgeon has been living in Echuca-Moama for the past two months and is looking forward to the opportunity of guiding the Echuca dealership.
‘‘Matt’s a good fit having grown up in a country town,’’ Mr Thompson said.
‘‘It’s important people in Echuca-Moama see a country guy coming in who has had city experience rather than someone from the city coming out to the country.’’
Mr Thompson was born and bred in Shepparton and is the third generation of a family that has been involved in the car industry for 55 years.
Mr D’Alberto wished the new owners all the best with the dealership.
‘‘I couldn’t be happier to hand over to these guys,’’ Mr D’Alberto said.
‘‘They will bring a new enthusiasm to the dealership.’’
Mr D’Alberto took over the Holden dealership in Kyabram in 1983 and in the next 34 years acquired the Echuca and Deniliquin dealerships before his retirement this week.
While he admitted he was a bit anxious stepping into the unknown that is retirement, he believed the time was right.
‘‘It’s time to give a fresh look to the place,’’ Mr D’Alberto said.
‘‘It will be more vibrant. It will be good for the town and the dealership as well. I’m happy where it’s going.’’