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Skoda’s potential inspires Eardley to invest £1.2m

A Staffordshire dealer who sold 50 new Skodas in 1995 plans an annual total of 800 from two dealerships after acquiring and adapting a 1.2-acre former Pendragon Evans Halshaw site.

Robert Eardley, who set up his family business 25 years ago, may acquire a third Skoda outlet to the north of the existing pair, which are 15 miles apart in Crewe and between Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle under Lyme on the A34.

Eardley acquired the Skoda franchise for Stoke in early 2005 and until recently was operating from a former Kwik-Fit site. Last year, the business achieved a £4.5 million turnover, a figure Eardley intends to double now he is in new premises near Stoke. Offices have been built and the workshop increased from four to seven bays.

Eardley is in negotiations with Volkswagen and hopes to acquire the freehold of the dealership, which has an eight-car showroom. In late 2006, Volkswagen Group UK bought the site from Pendragon – it was once a Citroën franchise.

“I believe in Skoda’s potential for growth as the product range expands,” he says. “Our new dealership near Stoke is in a key area for Skoda with a potential of 240,000 buyers.”

Eardley is investing £1.2 million in the Stoke outlet, which he expects will sell 500 new and 500 used cars a year. “It covers an area previously represented by four or five Skoda dealers, he says. “Each of them was given the opportunity to do what we have done, but declined.

“They had been used to representing the ‘old’ make and did not want to commit themselves in the way that Skoda needs.”

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