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Grip : GRIP February 2013
40 YEARS OF SERVICE GRIP CONTACT GRIP Send your advert to us for the next issue of GRIP WESTERN Region Service Manager, John Mar tin, has completed a remarkable 40 years of service with Subaru. When John was a boy growing up in Melbourne, he had no idea that he would be a mechanic, let alone living on the other side of the country for most of his adult life, where he would become a global expert on a Japanese car. “I had no interest in cars at all until I was looking for an apprenticeship,” John said. “But an apprentice mechanic position was available so my interest star ted at that point.” John commenced his apprenticeship with Spencer Motors, a Volkswagen dealership in South Melbourne, back in 1960. “I spent the first three months washing dirty parts,” John recalls. “It was a huge dealership with a huge vehicle throughput every day.” By the end of 1965 he had finished his apprenticeship and started work as a service advisor in 1966, staying with Spencer Motors right through until WESTERN STALWART WITH 40 YEARS SERVICE early 1972. That’s when the move came to Western Australia and to Subaru. “The mining boom was starting to get into full swing in Port Hedland and heavy adver tising was in progress in Melbourne for technical staff, with heaps of highly paid positions available,” John said. “So I sold the house and furniture, packed the 1966 VW Beetle with not much and headed west. The stopover in Perth was so nice, such a beautiful clean place, I decided to delay proceeding north for a little while. I got a job to tide me over and never left.” That day was April 10, 1972, when John commenced his role with the brand as a service representative, becoming the State Service Manager, now named Regional Service Manager in 1986, a role he still holds today. Simply, there are few in the world that know as much about Subaru technology as John Martin. Across the years he has seen enormous changes to cars generally, but Subaru in particular. “There have been amazing technology advances and innovation in cars,” John said. “When I started there were no ADRs. If you could afford a radio in a car it was an accessory and it was a large valve type that took time to warm up – usually mounted in front of the passenger under the dash. “There was no air conditioning or heater, no flashing directional indicators - hand signals were used for turning and stopping. Female drivers were a novelty you stared at, there were no automatic transmissions, no seat belts, no computers or engine management etc. “Cars nowadays are very reliable and rarely break down.” With over 26 years as a Regional Service Manager, John still looks forward to heading to work. “I enjoy this role because I have the flexibility of being able to assist a deserving customer when necessary, without having to refer it to a higher authority because of the trust management has in the choices I make to assist, or not assist, and the degree of contribution I choose to authorise. “I also relish the trust and respect I enjoy with network staff.” He’s seen some changes in Subaru’s product offering across the years as well. While he says he “didn’t like the Fiori or Sherpa much”, he struggles to name a favourite Subaru. “At a pinch I would go for Tribeca,” John said. “It’s large, very well built, powerful, comfortable, high with great visibility and great for towing. “I do have fond memories of the turbocharged ‘flying wedge’ Vortex as well – my nickname for it was ‘Star ship’.” He’s seen a lot across the years – the good times and the tough times. “There isn’t one particular event or memory that stands out, but the great thing that I have witnessed is a combination of togetherness and everyone helping each other. “The passion, enthusiasm, dedication of the Subaru family, the people I communicate with within the company, gives me a great sense of belonging and being part of the Subaru scene.” Outside of work John keeps himself very busy. He’s been a Justice of the Peace since 1978, a keen gardener, plays squash three times a week, likes to fiddle in the shed to help others, and is a volunteer for the Cancer Council of WA, assisting and guiding people diagnosed with prostate cancer. He and wife Barbara also love their German Shepherd, Kyza. INSIDE GRIP HOME PAGE DEALERSHIPS RETAILER OF THE YEAR 40 YEARS OF SUBARU PRODUCT NEWS AFTERSALES FLEET TRENDS DEALER STATS SPORT
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