Potts has formed a joint venture with Vauxhall Motors Holding to create Eden GM. It has bought five Vauxhall dealerships from Inchcape Retail for £14.3 million. They have a combined turnover of £75 million.
“Eden is a brand name for a retail group with a focus on creating a better world for my work colleagues and for our customers,” says Potts, a devote Christian.
“I have 238 colleagues at Eden, and have said at staff meetings that I want to get to know all of them well. I said I will expect them all to be obsessive about caring for our customers.”
Vauxhall Motors Holding usually advances money to talented young entrepreneurs. Potts contributed money from his investment company to create Eden GM.
In Potts, 50, Vauxhall has an experienced retail operator who built his reputation as chief executive of the group Sir Peter Vardy sold to Pendragon.
Eden GM is launched with outlets in Reading, Newbury, Fareham, Exeter and Honiton and Potts is retaining the existing management structure.
Last autumn he said he wanted to build a group of 20 dealerships, saying he had no wish to rival the rapid growth of Vertu, run by former Vardy managing director Robert Forrester.
Potts is now open minded: “I have no wish to grow Eden for the sake of it and I am much more interested in profitability than the number of dealerships. “Who knows though where we will be in three to five years.”
Inchcape said the disposals were in line with its strategy to shed 47 UK dealerships and concentrate on the premium segment. It is also raising funds to support its growth into eastern European markets.