Ken Stout – he’s here to help
Ken established Ken Stout Motors Ltd in 1977, specialising in Jaguar, Daimler and European cars. Growing up in Remuera meant he was introduced to high performance engines from an early age, and he was hooked. Ken said, “What is not to love about Jaguars? At the time of my training they were world leading production performance cars, with advanced design, luxury interiors and priced cheaper than the opposition.”
Ken Stout Motors has been servicing, repairing and selling pre-owned Jags for over 30 years, so when Fair Go approached Ken, he saw an opportunity to help a Jag purchaser who had been bullied by a car dealer. The purchaser needed a transmission overhaul on the Jag they’d recently bought, with an approximate cost of $7,000. “I duly visited the owner and with a very short test-drive verified this huge expenditure was necessary before the car could be used. I talked to our suppliers (Transmax) and between us we offered to repair the car for a much lesser amount,” said Ken.
The President of the Auckland Jaguar Driver’s Club saw the programme on TV and arranged for the balance of the repair cost to be paid by the club – a very generous offer. Fair Go did a follow up on the story which showed Ken collecting the car for repair. After twelve months of being nothing more than an ornament, the car was towed to Ken’s premises and his technicians removed the transmission, stripped, overhauled and refitted it. And it was all done for the happy owner at no cost.
It’s helping and meeting people that brings Ken back to work on a daily basis. The business brings in a variety of people – “some are wealthy, some battlers, some are famous, but most are just ordinary folk like you and I,” said Ken. Outside of work, Ken is on the board for a few volunteer organisations, fulfilling his enjoyment in helping others.
Starting your own business at a young age comes with its challenges, particularly having to be an expert at everything. It’s attractive for Kiwis to own their own business, moving into an area that they’re skilled in and passionate about (auto-engineering in Ken’s case), but they soon realise they need to have business skills, customer and staff management experience, and accounting skills – the art of multi-tasking is vital.
The most significant technical development Ken has seen in his time is the design and development of the microchip – this is the heart of electronics and has enabled control of systems that, just twenty years ago, wasn’t imaginable. Ken said, “Keeping up with technical advances is always a challenge, particularly as a specialist who gets no factory support. I am thankful for the training opportunities MTA has offered.”
Ken has been an MTA member for a very long time, and said “MTA has been a great supporter of my business along with every other MTA member.” Ken has been on the North Shore Committee and Membership Services national committee for many years, finding other members to be great role models and people he has been able to get sound advice from. “MTA is clearly one of the leading trade associations in the country. My congratulations to the past chairmen, directors, CEOs, staff and committee members who have had the foresight to bring MTA to where it is today.”
When asked to look into the crystal ball of the future, Ken wasn’t game to predict what’s around the corner, “they say a day is a long time in politics – the same principles apply in both industry and business. The only certainty is everything is getting more complicated.”
Ken has been blessed with three children and eight grandchildren, and is thankful for the upbringing he had. Ken believes that success in business doesn’t come from a set of rules. It comes from the background of the manager or director – what they believe in plays an integral part to a successful business.
Based on these beliefs and Ken’s passion, we know he will continue to help those around him with anything Jaguar or motor industry related for years to come.
Story by Stephanie Anderson, MTA Communications and Marketing Coordinator