Vantage motors ahead with 20th dealership

Mark Robinson has overseen a period of rapid expansion at Vantage Motor Group, which has bought Stratstone Honda in Bradford, its first dealership in West Yorkshire.
Mark Robinson has overseen a period of rapid expansion at Vantage Motor Group, which has bought Stratstone Honda in Bradford, its first dealership in West Yorkshire.
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A YORKSHIRE-based motor group has acquired its 20th dealership as part of a strategy to grow its market share in the Midlands and North of England.

Vantage Motor Group has bought Stratstone Honda in Bradford, its first dealership in West Yorkshire, for an undisclosed sum, in a move which brings its group turnover to £215m.

The dealership will be rebranding as Vantage Honda – Bradford, and all 20 of the current staff will be retained. Vantage plans to make further investment in the site.

Vantage, which is based in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, is developing long term ties with Honda, which recently revealed plans to revive its brand in Yorkshire.

Vantage bought its first Honda dealership in Barnsley in 2013.

The global car industry is enjoying a revival after a tough trading period which was triggered by the economic slump.

A sharp drop in consumer confidence following the 2008 financial crisis led to plummeting car sales, and a number of major carmakers were forced to suspend production after the Japanese tsunami in 2011. However, cheap finance, helped by record-low interest rates, has helped to increase car sales since the Government introduced its scrappage scheme in 2009.

Mark Robinson, the managing director of Vantage Motor Group, said: “We are very pleased to acquire our first dealership in West Yorkshire and to further strengthen our growing relationship with Honda.

“The acquisition is part of our ongoing growth strategy and demonstrates our commitment to further developing the Vantage business in Yorkshire.”

Leon Brannan, the head of car for Honda (UK), said: “We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with the Vantage Motor Group with the acquisition of this second site in Bradford.

“It represents a great opportunity for both Vantage and Honda in their local Yorkshire territories; off the back of their success in Barnsley.”

Over the last year, Vantage Motor Group’s turnover has grown from £65m to more than £210m. The group employs 500 staff and its has increased its number of sites from seven in Yorkshire and Lancashire, to 20 across the North of England and the West Midlands.

Last year, Mr Robinson told The Yorkshire Post that Vantage weathered the storm following the financial crisis by being a responsible business.

He cites the guidance of his business partner Phil White, an accountant and former chief executive of National Express, who came into the business in 2006, as “very important”.

“Sales dropped significantly during 2008 but we cut our cloth accordingly by managing the resources we had and managing our stock inventories and we didn’t have to make redundancies, ” Mr Robinson said last year.

The introduction of the Government’s scrappage scheme was a turning point for the business. “We never looked back after that, ” he said.

Mr Robinson said he intended to grow the number of manufacturers that Vantage supports, and grow the business in an “evolutionary” way.

The group was founded in 2003 by Mr Robinson with the purchase of two Toyota centres, in Knaresborough and York. Since then, the company has grown by acquisition.

Vantage was advised on its latest acquisition by Walker Morris and Grant Thornton.