Mildura Weekly : Friday August 19 Vol 10 No 41
16 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2016 lections and field role, out visiting dealers, so that gave me a taste for the motor in- dustry.” Rod once again pro- gressed quickly and eventu- ally moved across to Toyota Finance in the late 1980s, where he soon rose to be- come Sales Manager. After a stint with Nis- san Finance as Dealer Credit Manager, and with more than a decade in the motor industry, Rod again made a dramatic shift in his career, returning to the retail sector. “I was just looking for a change, so I ended up go- ing into a partnership with a mate and we became in- volved in two businesses - a licensed supermarket in East Bentleigh and the manage- ment rights of a TAB outlet in Chadstone Road, near the Chadstone Shopping Cen- tre,” he said.” After successfully build- ing up and running the two companies with his business partner over three years, Rod sold up and pondered a re- turn to the motor industry. “When I left the motor industry, I vowed that I’d had enough, but I realised I missed it and just needed to move into a different area in the industry,” he said. “I had a couple of months off and saw a job in the paper for a Southern Regional Manager for Toyota Motor Company in their Ex- tra Care extended warranty area. “I knew all the dealers in Victoria and Tasmania, so I thought it was the perfect fit for me.” It was a decision, in the mid 1990s, that would kick- start a long and close rela- tionship with the Japanese motoring giant that has con- tinued to this day, and was responsible for Rod moving to Mildura, though it wasn’t without its challenges. “Three months into that job, Toyota Motor Company moved the extended war- ranty arm back over to the finance arm, so I ended up back where I was before,” he said. However after a few more years, including a pe- riod as Sales Manager, Rod moved into Toyota’s insur- ance sales area, managing the brand’s Victorian, Tas- manian and South Austra- lian extended warranty and insurance operations, which is when the opportunity to become a Toyota dealer first arose. “I got a call from a col- league I used to work with at Toyota in their head office in Sydney and she asked if I’d ever thought about becom- ing a dealer,” he said. “IknewI’dlovetobea car dealer, but it took a lot of money, and at that stage in my life, I just didn’t have that sort of capital.” However, behind the scenes at Toyota’s head of- fice, the company identified it had an ageing dealer net- work and was keen to inject some young blood to run its dealerships. MARKWELL’S Auto Group has established itself as one of regional Australia’s most successful car dealership groups. In just over a decade, led by Dealer Principal Rod Markwell, Markwell’s Auto Group has doubled its turn- over and staffing levels, col- lecting a swag of the most prestigious national Toyota, Mazda and BMW dealership awards along the way. While Rod’s seemingly boundless work ethic, burn- ing desire to succeed and a touch of the perfectionist have all contributed to that success, behind it all lies a long-held passion for cars that can be traced back to his earliest years. His father Steve had an extensive career in the mo- tor industry, serving over 20 years at Holden, culminating in him being appointed the Australian marque’s National Sales Manager. In 1983 he moved across to Nissan as the brand’s Gen- eral Manager and then later, as National Director of Sales and Marketing. “My whole life has been based around cars, right down to the extent that every time my father brought home a new company car I’d be sit- ting at the front door waiting for it to arrive,” Rod said. “I can still remember nearly all the number plates on most of his company cars. I’m not mechanically-mind- ed, but have always just loved cars so it was an absolute cer- tainty that at some stage I’d end up in the car game.” Those early years sur- rounded by cars provided Rod, who was born and raised in Melbourne, with some unique and memora- ble experiences. “I spent a lot of time up at the Bathurst 1000 with the Marlboro Holden Dealer Team, and then the Nissan team when they had the Pe- ter Jackson/Winfield Racing livery due to Dad’s senior roles with both motor com- panies,” he said. “SohereIwasasa 13-year-old kid at Bathurst hanging around with the likes of Peter Brock after rac- es, and then later with Fred Gibson, George Fury, Mark Skaife and Jim Richards dur- ing the Nissan years.” Despite this background, Rod initially started his career working in the retail sector for the Coles-Myer group. “When I finished school, I deferred university studies as I was pretty keen to get into the workforce, so I entered the Coles-Myer group as a trainee manager,” he said. After a quick progres- sion through the retail ranks which saw Rod rise to be- come assistant store manager of Coles’ large Ivanhoe su- permarket at just 20, he was lured to the car industry in about 1986. “I took a backward step financially and got out of Coles and took a job at Gen- eral Motors Finance, which in those days was called GMAC, as a way to get into the motor industry,” he said. “I started there in a col- Rod’s passion for cars drives “When I left the motor industry, I vowed that I’d had enough, but I realised I missed it and just needed to move into a different area in the industry.” – Rod Markwell 204 Deakin Ave, Mildura Phone: 5021 2008 Sunday to Saturday 9am-7:30pm Deakin Lucky Lotto • Colin Nicolaou • John Cullen • Pat Mitchell This Week’s Winners Are: Did you know? SURGERY www.tankarddental.net.au Mildura 155 Langtree Ave Ph: (03) 5022 2933 Ouyen Britt St (Hospital Site) Ph: (03) 5092 1121 Robinvale 160 Bromley Rd Ph: (03) 5026 3536 Berri 11 Crawford Tce Ph: (08) 8582 2796 Looking after your child’s dental health is a big responsibility. After Hours Emergency 0419 381 125 when available Child Dental Medicare Scheme If you have a child aged 2-17 years you may be issued a dental voucher from Medicare to the value of $1000 and there are no out of pocket expenses if eligible.
Friday August 12 Vol 10 No 40
Friday August 26 Vol 10 No 42