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Palmerston North duo to represent NZ in Mitsubishi Motors Global Skills Contest in Japan

Gerrit van Schalkwyk and Emma Funnel from McVerry Crawford Mitsubishi Palmerston North have been named Best Technician and Best Service Advisor in Mitsubishi New Zealand’s

(MMNZ) National Skills Contest – and now have the chance to add global crowns to their national titles at the Mitsubishi Motors Global Skills Contest in Tokyo, Japan.

The finals of MMNZ’s National Skills Contest took place on 3 October – part of a Mitsubishi

Motors Corporation (MMC) global initiative to promote aftersales excellence and give national champions the chance to compete for a world title in Japan.

The biannual competition is open to Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand’s (MMNZ) 59 dealerships, with the finals held at the company’s HQ in Porirua, Wellington.

McVerry Crawford Mitsubishi Palmerston North fielded four finalists across all categories.

The winners emerged from a pack of nine finalists, who earned their spot through a series of online quizzes and regional training days.

The winners were:

  • Best Technician – Gerrit van Schalkwyk (McVerry Crawford Mitsubishi, Palmerston North)

  • Best Service Advisor – Emma Funnel (McVerry Crawford Mitsubishi, Palmerston North)

  • Best Parts Advisor – Logan Pratt (Simon Lucas Mitsubishi, Auckland)

All winners will travel to Japan for the global competition on 2 February 2024, although there is currently no global competition for parts advisors.

Aftersales focus

“We are extremely proud of our three winners and of the overall standard of aftersales care across our dealer network,” said MMNZ CEO Warren Brown.

“We have always put a strong focus on that side of our customer relationships. It’s an integral part of our offering, and our strength in this area was recognised by Kantar last year, naming us best automotive brand for customer experience and third best brand overall.

“I have no doubt that Emma, Gerrit and Logan will represent MMNZ on the world stage with the same expertise and professionalism that they demonstrated in our national competition.

“Having such knowledge and dedication on the ground is ultimately a win for Mitsubishi owners. We also see it as a win for our wider MMNZ family, but, just as importantly, this is a win for each individual, all of whom fully deserve the chance to showcase their considerable talents in Japan – and hopefully to enjoy the experience!”

Testing the best

GM of Aftersales Noel Comerford said the finalists were given a tough ride in their pursuit of the national title.

“This competition is designed to really push our parts, service and technical advisors through a range of scenarios and problem-solving exercises, testing their knowledge and processes to the limit,” said Comerford. “It is only by setting the bar high that we see the best of the best rise to the top and demonstrate the standards we expect of our aftersales team.”

The finalists completed two written exams, covering general and specialised knowledge in each of the three areas of expertise.

In timed practical tests, technicians were judged on how they resolved an assigned vehicle fault; service advisors on their customer handling skills; and parts advisors on their customer interaction and parts knowledge.

Competitive edge

Another aspect of the competition highlighted by Comerford was the upskilling that takes place during training and preparation for the finals.

“The Global Skills Contest provides an excellent incentive within our staff training programme,” said Comerford. “It helps create a ‘golden triangle’ with individuals wanting to prove themselves on one hand, a competitive edge across our network on the other, and, on top of all that, a great outcome for Mitsubishi owners.

“For now, we are all behind our winners and excited to see them represent New Zealand against their counterparts from around the world.”


The other finalists were:


  • Wataru Suematsu, McVerry Crawford Mitsubishi Palmerston North

  • Matthew Pester, Southern Lakes Mitsubishi Queenstown


  • Tiri Tipuna, Delaney Mitsubishi

  • Shanla Campbell, Bay City Mitsubishi


  • Karl Dear, McVerry Crawford Mitsubishi Palmerston North

  • William Pringle, Wairarapa Mitsubishi


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