SVS - Team

Richard Murrell
Dealer Principal Phone: (03) 215 8539 (03) 215 8539 Mobile: 021 341 712 021 341 712 Email:

Even when he unwittingly sent an escaped prisoner off for a test drive, customer satisfaction was foremost in Richard Murrell's mind. "I checked it had a full tank of gas - unfortunately he never brought it back."

It was a precarious start to a career which now spans over two decades - but was meant to features cows, not cars. It's a safe bet that Richard's the only car salesman with a Diploma in Dairy Technology from Massey University. "It was supposed to be a fill in job - I was going to run a milk factory."

The extensive range on offer at Southland Vehicle Sales today is a far cry from the humble 18 vehicles gracing the lot when Richard embarked on a business endeavour with Garry Tippett in 1993. But then Richard's a quintessential Southlander - innovative, hard-working and genuinely proud of the province he calls home.

It's an attitude which has evolved SVS into one of Southland's leading dealerships with its unrivalled Buy Safe, Buy Sure guarantee program and unbeatable reputation for service. Richard's enthusiasm for the motor industry is infectious and, as past president of the MTA, he remains actively involved and passionate about its future.

"As a leader in the MTA, you need to set the standard in your own business as well, so SVS incorporates many of the same values."
Listening, not talking, is a key component of Richard's sales technique, resulting in a vehicle that melds seamlessly with a client's needs.

"Standing still is not an option - if you're standing still, you're about to go backwards."

A proud father of three, Richard's energetic approach also extends to a raft of leisure pursuits - swimming, cycling, the gym, golden oldies rugby, indoor netball and diving, where delectable hauls from the ocean have inspired him to expand his culinary skills.

And when the cause is worthy, he'll put he's donned boxing gloves for SVS in the Fight for Kids and cycled from Milford Sound to Invercargill through snow and sleet all in the name of charity

Terry Small
Kia/Isuzu/Used Sales Phone: (03) 215 8539 (03) 215 8539 Mobile: 021 280 7027 021 280 7027 Email:

"Always deliver on your word." Is a philosophy that's held Terry Small in good stead since he joined the SVS team in 2000.

"What you say, you back up - it’s as simple as that."

Straight-up, honest, reliable, hard working - there's not enough words to describe Terry. But he's not really into all that fluffy nonsense.

Terry has extensive sales experience under his belt and believes success is all about adopting the right attitude every day.

He's renowned for his integrity and going the extra mile - even braving the pouring rain to hand prospective buyers an umbrella. It's no wonder he gets repeat business.

On those rare occasions when he's not on the SVS lot, Terry likes to spend time in his vegetable garden, where in proof of the adage "gardeners are givers" half his crop is given away.

Married to Linda, the couple have four children and nine grandchildren spread on both sides of the Tasman.

Matt Gray
Isuzu Manager/Finance Phone: (03) 215 8539 (03) 215 8539 Mobile: 0274 300 020 0274 300 020 Email:

Matt has recently returned home to Southland from a busy dealership in Auckland, where he looks forward to reasonable house prices and less than hour long commutes.

Customer satisfaction is at the forefront of his approach to sales, striving to ensure every customer gets the VIP treatment and feels like they are part of the SVS family. "There is nothing better than seeing that smile you get from a customer on delivery day, when they are delighted both with their purchase and with the service they have received." He believes the sales process should be easy, transparent and most of all fun!

When he is not in the dealership Matt can be found enjoying the great outdoors, fishing, whitebaiting, snowboarding or trail riding. He also loves getting out on tramps and camps with the boys brigade helping young guys learn the skills his father taught him.

Garry Tippett
Service Manager Phone: (03) 215 8539 (03) 215 8539 Mobile: 0274 369 903 0274 369 903 Email:

Garry Tippett has over 30 years experience in the automotive industry, in all facets from spinning spanners to vehicle sales.

In his role as Southland Vehicle Sales service manager at Garry offers a wealth of knowledge for customers to tap into.

A mechanic by trade, Garry joined forces with Richard Murrell in 1993 to from the 21 North Road car dealership.

"I got the urge to do something that I felt would be more rewarding."

It was a risk that paid off. The business evolved into SVS and moved to its present site in 2000. Further expansion and the purchase of BP North Road, followed just three years later.

To accommodate the Kia franchise, SVS developed a dedicated service centre in 2004. Any make or model is ably repaired by the experienced SVS team.

"Customers can expect a damn good job at a fair rate - with personal service a key focus."
As SVS has evolved, so too has the motor industry.

Garry ensures his team stays at the forefront of technology through regular training and by employing the latest in diagnostic equipment.
"Everyone here has their own strengths and when they put their heads together to nut out a solution, it works out well."

Away from the workshop, Garry makes the most of the Southern "playground", with rugby, whitebaiting and fishing his favoured pursuits

Graham Thomas
Parts Manager Phone: (03) 215 8539 (03) 215 8539 Mobile: 021 341 711 021 341 711 Email:

From spark plugs and brake pads to the obscurest of bolts - you’d be hard pressed to find a car part Graham Thomas hasn’t dealt in.

We didn’t specifically import the parts guru from the UK (he was lured to greener pastures by his New Zealand born wife Joan) but since 2008, he’s fit with our team like bangers and mash.

After completing his mechanical apprenticeship, Graham was snapped up by the BMW franchise where he spent 20 years with the iconic manufacturer’s parts department.

"Born in London, but grew up in a village in Buckinghamshire, Graham has always been interested in cars. Currently he is helping out on “The Kiwi Coupe” land speed car.

Sixteen years ago, Graham jumped on a plane from London and, together with Joan and their young son, moved to Southland to be near their two adult sons and families.

A pivotal link at SVS sourcing parts and accessories, Graham prides himself on aligning with both sales and service to achieve the ultimate aim - customer satisfaction.

"Indulging their passion for music, Graham and Joan can often be found play Ukuleles around Southland in their spare time.

Tracey Ballantyne
Office Manager Phone: (03) 215 8539 (03) 215 8539 Email:

They say you can hear people smile over the phone and that’s certainly the case when it comes to our Office Manager Tracey Ballantyne.

Who enjoys encountering a robotic response when phoning a business? Not us. And we wouldn’t expect our customers to either, so they’re treated to the effervescent Tracey.

For the past thirteen years, she’s been the smiling face, or voice, when you contact Southland Vehicle Sales and admits chatting comes naturally.

We refrain from calling her "mum" at work, but Trace’s job really is an extension of her parenting role, calling on the same multi-tasking skills to ensure SVS is a smooth operation.

She tackles accounts, data entry, administration and anything else that requires her impressive organisational skills.

Married to Andrew, Tracey is the proud mum of Jessica and Brayden.