Subaru joins Taranaki family dealership W.R. Phillips

  • The new W.R. Phillips Subaru Taranaki team with Subaru of New Zealand's Peter Douglas-Bell (far right, bottom row.)
    The new W.R. Phillips Subaru Taranaki team with Subaru of New Zealand's Peter Douglas-Bell (far right, bottom row.)
  • The Subaru line up including the Subaru Levorg is available at W.R. Phillips Subaru Taranaki.
    The Subaru line up including the Subaru Levorg is available at W.R. Phillips Subaru Taranaki.

Subaru has found a new home in Taranaki, with New Plymouth’s W.R. Phillips dealership dedicating a new showroom, workshop and valet service to Subaru vehicles and customers.

The energetic and driven fourth-generation business, on Devon Street, has integrated the Kiwi adventure brand into its existing business with the same spirit of do, that is Subaru’s marketing mantra.

W.R. Phillips Operations Manager, Julia Phillips, says: “We’ve put a lot of thought into taking on the Subaru brand and we’re really excited about it.”

“If you look at our location, we’ve got the mountain, the sea, rivers, surfing, fishing and biking, plus so many more family and lifestyle activities. You just couldn’t get a better area than Taranaki for Subaru vehicles and all the outdoor activities they enable our customers to do.”

With Subaru selling more cars per capita in New Zealand than almost any other country worldwide, the Taranaki company is feeling positive about taking on such a reputable brand. 

W.R. Phillips Dealer Principal Paul Phillips says the business had already committed to incorporating a new building on-site, before deciding on an occupant for it.

“We were seeking growth and had already been thinking about those drivers of growth in the industry and how we could move W.R. Phillips successfully into the years ahead. Subaru came up as a prime opportunity after that.”

Mr Phillips adds that the company has prided itself on its customer values since it opened its doors in February 1946. It’s something his father, Neil, continued to emphasise during his 61 years in the business, and those values have continued into the current generation.

“We’ve always been focused on making this business about more than selling and fixing cars. It’s creating an experience for the customer which is the priority,” Mr Phillips says.

With a concierge service, customer lounge, a wash and vacuum for every car that comes through its workshops — no matter how big or small the job — and spur-of-the-moment perks for customers, it’s no wonder the team have been rewarded nationally for their efforts.

“When you think about the motor industry, all dealerships are supplied with the same products, parts and knowledge, yet how we deal with people is completely down to us. Making that experience and service the most enjoyable possible for each of our customers is what W.R. Phillips is all about,” Mr Phillips says.

Having consistently featured in the top three dealerships nationally for its customer service with other car brands, it was that high level of service that cemented the collaborative business partnership between Subaru and W.R. Phillips.

Subaru of New Zealand’s Managing Director Wallis Dumper added to Mr Phillips’ comments by reiterating that the strength of the customer service that the Phillips family have created in Taranaki, has become synonymous with the other automotive brands they sell in New Plymouth.

“We simply cannot ignore how strong the Phillips have made their dealership, by focusing on the most important people in the business - their customers. We welcome people to Subaru Country every day in New Zealand and we believe this partnership will evolve to ensure our Taranaki-based Subaru drivers receive a whole new level of customer experience.”

“We know that the loyal Subaru customers we have in the region will truly appreciate a brand-new facility and that magic touch of customer care that we believe Paul, Julia and their family can deliver to the drivers of our Boxer-engined beauties.”

“Every Subaru we sell in New Zealand features our Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and it’s this engineering prowess that helps take you to a place you would rather be. With our record growth over the past decade, it is vital that we ensure that we keep localised customer satisfaction as a top priority in our future business planning,” Mr Dumper concluded.

The Phillips, along with their sons Ryan and Jared, who are also involved in the business, are motivated to tackle the major changes afoot within the motor industry, in the coming years, head on.

“It’s daunting, but we’ve invested a lot over the last few years on infrastructure, people, technology and equipment, so if we weren’t excited about the future, we wouldn’t have done that, nor would we be doing what we’re doing with Subaru,” Mr Phillips says.

For now, the Phillips clan is focused on delivering the outstanding service that W.R. Phillips is renowned for, to the new Subaru addition to the family.

“Taking Subaru on-board is an opportunity for us to support our staff with new opportunities and provide the Taranaki community with an outstanding product and service. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do, by bringing Subaru under our roof,” Mr Phillips says.

Contact the W.R. Phillips Subaru Taranaki team at


Catherine Pattison

Public Relations

Subaru of New Zealand

M  +64 (0)27 44 55 389