Motor Holdings was founded in 1936 and developed from the New Zealand franchise of Jowett Motors. The New Zealand franchise imported and assembled Bradford's very light vans and trucks in Auckland. Motor Holdings controlled 15 smaller companies including a new assembly company called Motor Industries International Ltd. Following Jowett's 1954 closure Motor Holdings won the Volkswagen franchise and changed the name of its Auckland operation to VW Motors. VW Motors built a new assembly plant which opened in 1958 at Fort Richard Road in Otahuhu. Rambler vehicles by American Motors Corporation were built at the VW plant as a secondary line to Volkswagen until 1962.

Motor Holdings assembled many different makes in addition to Volkswagen including Studebaker, Nash, and Hudson in the 1950s; Rambler, Peugeot 403 and 404 in the early 1960s; and Datsun, Simca, Skoda, the Fiat 500 (christened "Fiat Bambina" in New Zealand in 1965), and the New Zealand-made Trekka through the 1960s and 1970s.


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