Brayley has bought Grays Honda, also acquiring the freehold of its premises in the centre of Grays, Essex. The new site joins his existing Honda dealerships at St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.
He is retaining the Grays Honda trading name and intends to increase the turnover of the dealership (£8m when bought) while maintaining profitability.
Brayley is optimistic about his chances of adding more Honda dealerships to his portfolio. “I would like to form a Honda market area from Hemel Hempstead around the M25 to Grays,” says Brayley. “We have invested in a dealer management system to link the three existing outlets and the advantages include a stock of 150 used Hondas accessible on screen to all the sites.”
Brayley was once Honda franchise director for Johnsons Cars, formed by Geoff Dale, chief executive of Evans Halshaw, which was acquired by Pendragon and has become one of its retail trading names.
In 2003, Brayley received financial backing under Honda’s dealer investment programme and acquired a dealership in St Albans. The following year he added the Hemel Hempstead site.
The business flourished, and he was able to repay Honda’s investment early. Brayley was encouraged to acquire Grays Honda when Cliff Gray, grandson of the founder, who ran the business with his wife Jenny, decided to sell.
“Cliff is a friend, so I knew there would be nothing hidden from the due diligence enquiries,” says Brayley. “His grandfather started by selling bicycles and the business moved on to Trojan commercial vehicles, before gaining BL franchises including Rover, and then representing Honda.”