The group, which was the subject of a £62m management buyout in August, will spend more than £600,000 over the next 18 months upgrading showrooms.
Colin Hainstock, chairman and managing director, says the investment will help boost new car sales from 4,500 to 5,000 a year.“We want to expand but we are not in acquisition mode at the present time. We hope investing in our facilities will help increase sales.,” he says.
Hainstock is also drawing up an internet sales strategy following research published in AM, November 28 which found UK dealers were failing to sell cars over the web. “The research was read and noted. We are strong on internet sales but that made us think about how we could be better,” he adds.
Showroom upgrades are being driven by the launch of a new corporate identity programme being rolled out by General Motors. That includes Saab Unlimited and new site standards for Vauxhall. The company, which has recently taken on the Mazda franchise, will also be revamping its Harrogate site.
Hainstock says: “We have been tracking Mazda and believe the time is right for this area to have its own Mazda retailer. The manufacturer is currently one of the motor industry's top performers, with year-on-year registrations showing an increase of more than 35 per cent.”
The new franchise, which also covers the Ripon, Wetherby and Otley areas, will share the site with Nidd Vale's Vauxhall and Saab businesses on Leeds Road in Harrogate.
A total of £500,000 is also being invested in a new site at Follifoot Ridge Farm. Based on a light industrial estate, it will be used for storing and valeting new cars, freeing space at Harrogate and Wetherby.