After a £300,000 refurbishment the sites are now fully “Mazda-ized” and will double Donalds’ turnover to £30m.
Donalds bought Garneys and Hill for an undisclosed sum in July, in a situation Donalds describes as a “willing buyer and a willing seller”. Staff and stock at the two sites were being run at the bare minimum.
Despite the sum spent on building work, the company says the main investment has been in people. Staff numbers across the two sites have been doubled, with 20 now at Bury St Edmunds and around 30 at Ipswich.
“Mazda has never been stronger,” says Daniel Stone, managing director of Donalds Motor Group. “The cars are reliable, desirable and competitively priced. It is a great brand to invest in.”
Under Garneys and Hill the sites were dual franchised with Seat. The original plan was to carry on with the arrangement but co-ordinating all 36 of Seat’s corporate identify suppliers that the company requires to be involved in any refurbishment proved too difficult in the time available.
Donalds says it may look at Seat again in the future.
Now as solus sites, showroom space has increased from three to 10 cars. A compound at the back of the Bury St Edmunds site will hold new car stock of between 150 and 200 cars to feed the whole group. Overall, the group is expecting to sell more than 1,300 new cars a year, and the same used.
Donalds is part of the Central Garage (Uppingham) group which has four other dealerships in the east, trading as Sycamore, with BMW/Mini, Vauxhall and MG Rover franchises. The group is keen to expand its Mazda representation.
Seat is in talks with a number of dealers to fill the gaps in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.