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Manufacturers like the Vardy partners plan

Peter Vardy believes his idea of inviting general managers to take a stake in his company will smooth the way to acquiring more brands.

By invitation, managers can invest £10,000-20,000 in the outlet, with the chance of turning it into £100,000 over five years.

Mark Berwick, last year appointed Peter Vardy Ltd’s first dealership manager, is now his pioneering Managing Partner, heading a Vauxhall outlet in Perth.

“I’ve worked my way up through the ranks and this is a fantastic opportunity for me,” says Berwick. “It’s a chance to have an affordable investment in a dealership, and without the risks.”

Vardy, one of two sons of Sir Peter Vardy, who sold Reg Vardy plc to Pendragon last year, sent a mailer to carmakers in December. He outlined his plans to grow the business, explaining the Managing Partner scheme.

“Only two manufacturers have failed to respond and I will be chasing them up,” says Vardy. “I am scheduling meetings over the next six weeks, because several are suggesting franchise opportunities for us now, or sometime in the future.

“Some have their own programmes for sponsoring entrepreneurs, but they can see the advantage of our approach. As the business is not a plc, we don’t come under shareholder pressure. We can allow managers who take a stake to develop the business at the right pace.”

In December, Vardy told AM of his ambitions to create a 20-outlet group within five years, but he now thinks that might have been a conservative forecast: “We could even have 10 by June.”

Though only 28, Vardy has the advantage of working in the company developed by his father, and advice from experienced colleagues. His second dealership, also with a Vauxhall franchise, will be at Kirkcaldy, about 25 miles south-west of Perth, if planning permission is granted.

“The site has the potential for sales of 700 new cars per year, and would give us Vauxhall representation for Fife,” he says.

“The location is ideal because it’s on a road designated by planners as the town’s motor mile, and we’re not afraid of the competition. We also want a commercial vehicle operation there.”

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