Acquisitions and new dealership mark ambitious Meridian Motor Group’s 10th anniversary

6 June 2013
Mark Robinson, MD Vantage Motor Group
Mark Robinson, MD Vantage Motor Group

Harrogate based Meridian Motor Group is marking its tenth anniversary by extending its ‘Vantage’ brands’ portfolio with the arrival of the Lexus and Kia marques following the acquisition of four West Midlands dealerships and the development of a new site in Scarborough. The acquisitions will see annual group turnover double to £125 million.

The moves, which bring the number of Vantage dealerships to twelve, almost doubling its previous size as well as extending its geographic reach, are a signal of the group’s ambition to become a national force.

The West Midlands deals sees the Group acquiring four dealerships from Sytner in a transaction that produces an enlarged business selling 9,500 new and used cars a year with an annual turnover of £125 million and 300 staff. Six new central services positions will be created in the Group’s Harrogate head office as a result of the deal.

It also takes the Group outside its traditional homeland of Yorkshire and Lancashire for the first time.

The expansion into the West Midlands brings the prestige Lexus brand into the group for the first time with a major dealership at Fort Dunlop near Birmingham as well as Toyota centres at Fort Dunlop, Solihull and Tamworth. All will operate under the Vantage banner, with the rebrand and launch accompanied by significant investments in site upgrades.

Scarborough’s brand new Vantage Kia dealership will be next door to the Group’s existing Toyota centre where it has been operating since 2010. The dealership is a £350,000 investment by Meridian and will open its doors in late July, creating five new jobs and bringing the increasingly popular Kia marque to motorists in the resort for the first time.

Meridian Motor Group was founded in 2003 by Managing Director, Mark Robinson with the purchase of two Toyota centres, in Knaresborough and York and an accident repair centre in Knaresborough which was later sold-off.

The Group recorded turnover of £65 million in its last financial year and ranks in Toyota’s top three dealers in the UK for customer satisfaction.

Its rigorous focus on high quality standards and staff development has seen the Group rank in the Top Three of UK Toyota dealerships for customer service and become its 8th largest volume partner.

Mark Robinson said:

I am delighted that we are able to mark a decade of achievement within the group with these acquisitions and our new development in Scarborough. They signal our ambition to become a real national force whilst at the same time retaining those important ‘local business’ qualities which see us operating at the heart of the communities where we are based.

Our aim is to take the Vantage ethos of excellence in customer service that has been fundamental to the success of the Group to date into our new dealerships and new geographic areas. We will be investing significantly in our new sites which is good news for staff and customers.

Among customer benefits will be raised service thresholds, improved showroom interiors and facilities and a wider choice of new and used stock as relationships with Lexus and Kia develop and the partnership with Toyota strengthens still further.

Meridian was advised on the acquisitions by Ian Gilbert, Judith Pike and Thomas Mieszkowski of law firm Walker Morris, David Chittenden of Colliers International on the property aspects with funding from Toyota Financial Services and NatWest. Sytner was advised by DLA.

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