Henty Machinery Field Day News and Current events

 Celebrating 45 years of trends in the family car at Henty
Paul Biti will celebrate the family’s association with the Henty Machinery Field Days across 45 years in 2023.

Celebrating 45 years of trends in the family car at Henty

The Biti family have seen first-hand the spending habits and changes in consumer preference for their vehicles across 45 years at the Henty Machinery Field Days.

Bruno and Lois Biti became a Ford dealership in Culcairn in July 1978 and displayed the new XC Falcon at the field days that year, along with the Daihatsu vehicles they were selling at the time.  

Biti Motors is now under the leadership of the next generation, Paul Biti, and is one of the most decorated dealerships in the country, culminating with the 2013 Top Dealer for Australia Award.

“We pride ourselves in doing things as well as we can and being heavily involved in whatever Ford offer,” Mr Biti said.

“Being a stand-alone Ford dealership, you have to make sure you are supporting the franchise – we have won quite a lot of awards over the years and have always been right at the top of the score board.

“Life has changed for Australians and what we have in our vehicles – the Falcon and Territory were fantastic vehicles, but people’s needs have changed. They want to carry bigger boats and caravans on their travels and hence what used to be the old farm vehicle, the Courier and early Rangers, have now turned into a much more passenger like vehicle, and including the 4WD wagon the Everest.

“Those vehicles now allow for people to drive a heavy 4WD as a pleasure car on the highway.”

Mr Biti concedes even if the Falcon was manufactured today, it would not suit the needs of the modern family.

He foresees the transition to electric vehicles as a difficult one for country or smaller regional dealership of any brand with much of regional Australia not ready for electric cars.

“The issue for regional Australians is the distances needed to be travelled quickly and the 4WD’s require a lot of torque for towing. Europe has stopped producing petrol or diesel small vehicles and heavily going electric so it will be a real issue for Australia,” he said. 

“The Chinese market is moving in quickly with electric vehicles. The next four to five years will be very difficult for dealerships and the public to purchase vehicles they need.”

For Biti Motors, resilience has been critical to survival in a small country town suffering drought, floods, COVID and global recessions over the decades.

The dealership differentiates itself from those in Albury-Wodonga and Wagga Wagga by focusing on quality sales and service.

“Ford survey each of our customers and our score out of 100 is always in the high 90s – all our staff greet the customers and if the customer has a problem they can speak directly with the technician,” Mr Biti said.

Biti Motors is among the larger employers in Culcairn with a staff of 12, including apprentices, and has actively engaged with Billabong High School to encourage young people to take up the trade.

Located on a prominent roundabout, the building is being given a facelift with new Ford branding along the front of the showroom in time for the field days. 

The dealership’s footprint takes in a rich agricultural area extending 100km east and west of Culcairn and touching Albury and Wagga Wagga.

Mr Biti was hoping to have the new Ford F-150 Truck on display at Henty but will be fielding questions and taking orders.

“We have one of the most prominent sites of the field days and last year it was a real challenge to have the stock for display due to getting those vehicles built during covid and shipped to Australia.

“We usually like to take around 16 to 20 vehicles for the site.

“The Ford Ranger will be the main interest – it is a vehicle developed largely since 2015 to turn it into a vehicle that is comfortable to drive and a capable workhorse. The spin-off is the Everest with the new V6 engine increasing its towing capacity to 3.5 tonne to cater for the larger caravans.

“In the SUV class, the European made Escape has been an absolutely astounding seller for us but unfortunately it will cease in 2023 due to expansion of the electric vehicle market.”

September is always a full month for the dealership as the season and people’s buying habits change, and Ford introduce their new models.

“Henty 2022 was an incredible year with a huge crowd on our site – we had the new Ranger and Everest which created so much interest,” Mr Biti said. 

“I was on my own and people were queued up – fortunately I thought, someone left me a stubby, but it was empty and under the bonnet of one of the new Rangers.

“Henty is the best promotion out of all we ever do – it is not just the advertising of our business but the best way to see past and current customers. Fifteen years ago, a customer from 200km away bought a car at the field days and has since averaged two to three cars a year from us.

“For me, I either see the field days on the Monday beforehand or drive around the sites at the end of the day at 5.30pm and I usually find someone to have a talk to.”

The family’s involvement with the field days extends back to the early 1960s when dealership founder, Bruno Biti, began working as a mechanic for Four Way Motors, and demonstrated New Holland balers at the Henty Field Days.

Bruno went on to devote his life to the Culcairn community, serving on almost every committee in the town and being awarded the Citizen of the Year and an OAM.

He and wife Lois founded Biti Motors in 1971 as a mechanical workshop in premises behind the Culcairn Hotel before opening as a Ford dealer in 1978 on the current site.

Paul’s earliest memories of the field days date to 1976 when he would wrangle a day off school to go.

“In the 1970s and 1980s, we used to have field day specials and sold them off the site,’’ he said.

“During the 1990s and 2000s, we rarely sold a car at the field days but in the last decade we have sold cars directly at the event.”

Paul has served in a volunteer capacity on the HMFD advisory board.

“I’m involved with the Culcairn Tennis Club which has one of the food stalls at Henty and that has always been a big money raiser for the town.”

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Site Address: 22 Lubkes Road, Henty NSW 2658

Postal Address: PO Box 107, HENTY NSW 2658