The sale followed a review of John Martin Group’s future franchise and property requirements.
John Martin Group will lease the Seafield Road site to Peter Vardy, which plans to move Mini into a dedicated new showroom and double the size of the BMW showroom. The site will be managed by Cameron Wade, a managing partner, and will stock more than 150 approved used vehicles.
Chief executive Peter Vardy said the acquisition is a significant step forward. “It represents not only our first move into the specialist car market but also our arrival in Edinburgh. The fact that BMW and Mini are keen to work with us is a welcome endorsement of our success to date and an indication that specialist manufacturers are confident partnering with a company that is a year old.”
The company was launched in June 2006 by Vardy, a former general manager of Edinburgh Jaguar and son of former Reg Vardy chief executive Sir Peter Vardy. It has two Vauxhall dealerships in Perth and Motherwell, and will open a third in Kirkcaldy next month.
John Martin Group has been streamlining its business since the death in 2004 of John Martin Jnr, its group operations director and son of the founder. It wants to focus on strategic partnerships with a smaller number of carmakers. It now plans to relocate its Rolls-Royce dealership in Edinburgh to a new showroom and predicts expansion of its bodyshop operations after signing a five-year solus agreement with insurer RBS.
John Martin Group managing director Gordon Nisbet said the measures will leave the group in a stronger position, and it is “evaluating development options with a chosen group of franchises”.
Vardy recently promoted HR manager Anita Douglas to the position of HR director. Douglas joined the company from Carter and Carter last August, and was responsible for designing its Accelerator Programme which offers rewards for employees who show good behaviour, performance and a willingness to learn.
Her new role will involve developing the company’s online training and coaching programme, as well as identifying employees for promotion. Douglas will also be responsible for making sure that employees’ issues are taken to board level.
“When we talk about colleagues being at the heart of everything and colleague satisfaction being critical to the business, they know there is action behind the words,” said Douglas.