Expansion for the group will come within its current market area – and in multiples, not single-site deals. The 2011 addition of Honda franchises in Chelmsford, Romford and Colchester is an example of the group’s preferred growth step.
“We’ve reached our geographic limits,” he said.
“Our head office in Romford serves all parts of the business with group admin and call centres, etc. Once you get beyond a 90-minute to two-hour drive time from here you begin to question how often you can visit those sites and how much control you have of them.”
Glyn Hopkin doesn’t have dealer principals, believing them unnecessary in a hierarchy that instead sees sales managers reporting to brand directors, who in turn report to the board directors and Hopkin. The group has three brand directors: one for Nissan and Infiniti, one for Fiat, Chrysler Jeep and Suzuki and one for Honda and Mitsubishi.
The three spend about 75% of their time visiting sites. Cohen goes to each one every three months. “By the time you drive to a site and give it the amount of time it needs, most of the day is gone. Expanding further afield would make ensuring the hands-on approach we have very difficult,” he said.