Situated on the busy junction 10 of the M53, the retail park attracts seven million visitors a year.
Mitchell’s 25,000 sq ft outlet is expected to boost turnover at the site by nearly 40%, to £25m per year. The development marks Skoda’s return to the Chester region after an absence of more than 10 years.
The company expects to sell 300 new and the same number of used cars in 2005 from the nine-car showroom. The building is split 50:50 with its Mazda dealership, which opened in August.
Mitchell also has a Lexus franchise at Cheshire Oaks. The complex now employs over 80 staff.
“We enjoy mid-size franchises with 2% market share or so,” says Mark Mitchell, group managing director. “The opportunities for my team to develop close, ‘first name’ relationships with most, if not all, our customers are immense.
“Our strapline ‘It’s our people who make the difference’ remains key to all we do, despite overall staff numbers now approaching 100. The Skoda brand sits exactly where we are in this respect.”
The service area has space for 20 cars, shared with Mazda and Lexus. There are four Skoda technicians from start-up. The company has installed a state-of-the-art Kardex parts carousel unit with more than 750 bin locations.
The group will carry on its policy, established at the adjacent Mazda site, of free car washes for life on Saturdays for every customer. Between 80 and 90 customers take advantage of this offer each week. “It’s one way for us to see customers without them having to bring their cheque book,” says Mitchell.
Mark Mitchell, 42, founded the Mitchell Group in 1990 and opened his first dealership in 1996. He has previously worked as a Ford area manager, Inchcape general manager and divisional director for the Dixon Group.