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Insight: Solent Motor Group

Mike Miller, the ebullient boss of the Solent Motor Group, is known in the trade as Mr ‘Three-In-One’.

He owns a trio of franchises – Citroën, Nissan and Mazda – in a 600-yard stretch on the main approach road to Portsmouth along the south coast of England.

His patch gives a passing trade of 25,000 motorists a day, which is crucial to his lucrative car catchment area.

It’s an area that takes in the Hilsea suburb of the biggest Solent city and includes Gosport, Havant, Fareham and Emsworth.

Why Mr Three-In-One? It’s all to do with Miller’s unusual approach to sales.

Rather than insist staff specialise in one particular franchise like many of his peers, he encourages multi-tasking throughout the three-marque business.

“My staff are totally flexible and take on board lots of different functions in their remit,” he says.

Sales people move between Citroën, Nissan and Mazda to give customers a free rein in terms of representation.

They are also expected to represent both Citroën cars and light commercials.

“The three franchises account for almost 10% of all the UK new car sales market and I think it is crucial that they all work together,” Miller says.

“One member of staff is expected to inter-relate wherever necessary with all the brands we represent to give customers a unique and friendly purchase process.

One person often wears three hats in pursuit of new and used purchases.”

He adds: “Multi-tasking is our priority and we will continue to control costs to the utmost.”

To this end, the Nissan and Mazda franchises share a parts and service facility, bringing appropriate economies of scale and ease of operation as well as many buying benefits.

Miller, a father-of-three aged 51, believes passionately that good, long-serving, highly qualified staff are the key to success. Solent is run on a ‘friend and family’ basis.

  • Read this story in full in the 8 August issue of AM. To subscribe to AM magazine click here or call 01733 468659.
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