The Ateco Group, or the Australian Tractor and Engineering Company as it was originally founded, started life as a general engineering company. At that time, Ateco offered a wide range of engineering and complete vehicle solutions within what was then a highly regulated and tariff protected, locally manufactured vehicle and transport industry.
In 1985 the company was acquired by Neville Crichton, a successful businessman and entrepreneur who had worked in his native New Zealand, Australia and the United States across a broad range of automotive business. Crichton was attracted to Ateco by its license to import Suzuki vehicles to the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). He correctly saw that a sea change in Australian automotive tariffs and automotive import rules would open the car market and produce a range of business opportunities for car companies that had left the Australian car market or never launched here.
Even in an industry renowned for its rapidly evolving business and products, the history of the Ateco Group shows it to be a uniquely dynamic and fast-moving company that grabs opportunities, maximises them and provides Original Equipment Manufacturers or OEMs with excellent growth in markets serviced by Ateco Group companies.
- 1985: Ateco acquired by Neville Crichton, quickly developing Suzuki into a major player in the small car and 4×4 market in NSW and the ACT.
- 1993: Volkswagen relaunched, and Audi rebuilt by Ateco.
- 1995: Citroen grows to its highest ever Australian sales under Ateco management.
- 1998: Alfa Romeo brought back to Australia by Ateco.
- 2000: Kia starts its road to success with Ateco.
- 2000: New Zealand operations are established by Ateco with Alfa Romeo and Fiat representation, adding Citroen in 2007.
- 2001: Fiat Commercial Vehicles return to Australia under Ateco’s management.
- 2005: Iconic supercar brands Ferrari and Maserati join Ateco for Australian and New Zealand distribution.
- 2006: Fiat passenger cars are added to the Ateco brands.
- 2009: Ateco launches the first Chinese vehicles to go on sale in Australia, with Great Wall Motors.
- 2013: Fiat Chrysler New Zealand established making Ateco the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles distributor for New Zealand, handling Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and MOPAR Parts.
- 2015: China’s number one vehicle maker, SAIC, chooses Ateco to handle its LDV brand in Australia.
- 2015: Ateco opens its South African business with its appointment as Maserati distributor.
- 2015: Ateco sets up a joint venture company, American Specialist Vehicles (ASV), to import RAM Utes from the USA and remanufacture them to right hand drive.
- 2018: With the success of the ASV business Ateco assumes full control of the RAM business for Australia and New Zealand.
- 2019: RAM Trucks Australia celebrate 5000th locally-produced full-size pick-up truck
- 2020: Ateco Group records over 300,000 vehicle sales; Upfitter business launched
- 2021: Renault joins the Ateco Group