Mitsubishi invests in technical tune-up for service staff

  • Establishment of national Technical Service Skills Competition raises the bar for in-house training and aftersales customer care
  • Javan Huxtable of Houston Motors (Nelson) and Michael Strudwick of Mexted Mitsubishi (Wellington) emerge as first competition winners 

Mitsubishi Motors NZ (MMNZ) has increased its focus on employee development and recognition, adding a Technical Service Skills Competition to its Triple Diamond Training Academy and Diamond Dealer awards programme.

The competition is an intensive test of technical knowledge and workshop service skills designed to raise the bar for Mitsubishi service teams nationwide.

After two online examinations, 50 participants were whittled down to a field of 11 finalists. The elite group of 11 was invited to a training and testing day at MMNZ’s Porirua headquarters.

The final, featuring theory and practical assessments, was capped off by a dinner and awards event, where Javan Huxtable of Houston Motors and Michael Strudwick of Mexted Mitsubishi were named Best Service Technician and Best Service Advisor respectively.

Mitsubishi aftersales manager Noel Comerford said Michael and Javan were worthy winners.

“All 11 finalists performed at a really high level, but those two were the best. They both exhibited excellent all-round skills, proving their efficiency and professionalism in a workshop environment.

“It’s important that outstanding individuals get the recognition they deserve, and also that staff across the country are incentivised to continue improving through some friendly competition!”

Best Service Advisor – Michael Strudwick (Mexted Mitsubishi)

To win Best Service Advisor, Michael had to complete a theory test and a mock customer service scenario. Michael said the testing was run in a way that made it very similar to a normal workshop environment.

“We had to go through the meeting and greeting process, explain what work would be required on the customer’s vehicle, explain how that would benefit them and also take them through all the paperwork, ensuring they understood everything and had all their questions answered.”

He said he was particularly pleased to win the competition due to the “high calibre” of the other finalists and “learned a lot from the experience”.

Michael also credited his success to the team culture at Mexted Mitsubishi, which received recognition for Excellence in Customer Service at MMNZ’s annual Diamond Dealer awards this year.

Best Service Technician – Javan Huxtable (Houston Motors)

Javan was tested on his technical knowledge of the Mitsubishi range and ability to quickly and correctly diagnose the cause of a vehicle fault. He cited his familiarity with the Mitsubishi Multi-use Tester tool as a winning advantage.

“I’ve always been pretty good with that sort of thing and I know how to access all the different manuals.

“The practical assessment was a 20-minute timed examination, in which we had to diagnose a vehicle fault following the correct procedures. I’m very familiar the Mitsubishi Multi-use Tester, which I think maybe gave me an advantage.

“During the final training session, I really learnt the importance of following every step carefully – because you can’t cut corners when you’re trying to diagnose the cause of a problem.”


Michael and Javan will now be flown to Japan to represent New Zealand in the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation international competition final.

Michael said he is looking forward to the trip and will do everything he can to win.

“I don’t like losing, so I’ll definitely give it my all!”

Mitsubishi head of sales and marketing strategy Daniel Cook paid tribute to all who took part in the competition.

“It’s great to see people fired up and inspired to learn and prove themselves against friends and colleagues. Service technicians don’t always get the recognition they deserve in the public eye, but they are vital to delivering a smooth, stress-free service for any customer who needs to call on their expertise. We’ve got some great people in our team, so I believe they’ll do us proud over in Japan. We wish them all the best!”

2016 MMNZ Technical Service Skills Competition finalists:

Service Advisors

  • Michael Strudwick – Mexted Mitsubishi
  • Steve Newson – Hutt City Mitsubishi
  • Andrew Sander – Simon Lucas Mitsubishi
  • Ben Elgar – McVerry Crawford Mitsubishi Palmerston North
  • Alexa Marsh – Bay City Mitsubishi
  • Andrew Eyles – Simon Lucas Mitsubishi

Service Technicians

  • Javan Huxtable – Houston Motors Nelson
  • Clinton Armstrong – Ingham Mitsubishi Hamilton
  • Josef Buhler – WR Phillips
  • Japie Nel – Auckland Motors
  • Kerry Butters – Mexted Mitsubishi

Photo caption: Mitsubishi Motors NZ managing director Tomoki Yanagawa with Best Service Advisor Michael Strudwick and Best Service Technician Javan Huxtable.

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