Vantage Motor Group has been sold by founder Mark Robinson in a management buyout involving the AM100 car dealer’s chairman, finance director and operations director.
Robinson confirmed to AM this morning that he will leave the Knaresborough-based retail business at the end of the year following a handover to chairman Phil White, finance director Tim Swindin and operations director Andrew Mallory.
Robinson said: “Vantage Motor Group has been a major part of my life for the last 16 years, I have worked with many talented individuals and teams developing friendships along the way with employees, business partners and customers. I feel that it is an ideal time for me to hand the group over to Phil, Tim and Andrew, so I can look towards new ventures in the future. I wish the Board and the outstanding team of people who work in the business much success in the future.”
Vantage returned to profitability in its annual financial results for the period to December 31, 2017, following the sale of ‘unprofitable businesses’ but its 2018 accounts are currently three months overdue, according to Companies House.
In October 2017 the Knaresborough-based business had said that investments in property, facilities, fixtures and in turnaround operations to restore a number of loss-making and under-performing dealerships had led to a 2016 pre-tax loss of £134,000, despite a 25% growth in turnover to £262m.
Last October, however, the group, which operates 24 dealerships across the North and Midlands, selling Toyota, Hyundai, Citroen, Lexus, Honda, Kia, Skoda and Mazda vehicles, reported a set of 2017 results which shows a £1.46m pre-tax profit alongside a further 6.9% increase in turnover to £280.1m.
In a statement issued alongside those 2017 results the group's directors said: "Proﬁts from recently acquired businesses in West Yorkshire improved signiﬁcantly and the company beneﬁtted following the closure last year of unproﬁtable business locations.
"Towards the end of the year we have further consolidated our loss making businesses with the sale of our Oldham and Stockport Hyundai businesses.
“Our Mazda operation in Oldham was also included in this sale. The disposal of these businesses will further enhance the company's proﬁtability and earnings going forward."
In March 2019 Vantage acquired Charles Clark Motors’ Toyota and Lexus dealerships in Wolverhampton for an undisclosed sum in a move that further expanded its relationship with the Japanese brands.
Vantage said at the time that the acquisition of the two businesses, on Bilston Road, Wolverhampton, “cement its brand representation in the West Midlands” alongside existing Toyota centres in Tamworth, Solihull and Birmingham, where it also has a Lexus dealership.
In January this year the group also added a new Lexus facility on Riversway Motor Park, off Admiral Way, Preston.
Under Robinson and White, Vantage Motor Group had expanded rapidly in the last 10 years, initially with support of its original partner Toyota and Lexus, and later adding a broader spread of mostly Asian brands.
White said: "We would like to thank Mark for his major contribution to the group over his time as Managing Director where he has built the business to where it is today. We wish him all the best for the future."