First Z petrol station opens

22:27, Jun 02 2011

One of the largest rebranding exercises in New Zealand history kicks off this morning when the first Z petrol station opens in Auckland.

Following the 2010 sale of the Shell petrol stations and distribution business to Infratil and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, the company announced last month that it was dropping the famous red and yellow brand for a new identity.

It has since launched a major advertising campaign playing up its local ownership.

The first of 10 pilot sites under the Z brand was opened by Maungakiekie MP, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga this morning.

Z Energy, which was previously known as Greenstone, said it carried out a major research exercise into the its customers which revealed little connection to the Shell brand itself. The company has also admitted that the cost of using the Shell brand - around $10 million a year - was also a factor in the decision.

As well as a new brand, the company is overhauling is offering, with New Zealand-made pies and cupcakes, better coffee and forecourt attendants during some hours.

''Our new look stores will provide customers with a completely overhauled and significantly improved offer,'' Z Energy chief executive Mike Bennetts said this morning.

Other Z sites, in Auckland, Christchurch,  Wellington, Turangi and Putaruru will be opened over the coming months, with all of the 220 Shell stations expected to be rebranded by June 2012.