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Meridian Motor Group drives into Cumbria

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Meridian Motor Group has sealed another acquisition which will see annual turnover exceed £140m, total workforce numbers rising to 330 and a new region added to its broadening geographic footprint.

The Harrogate-based business is marking its tenth anniversary with a series of developments that see it becoming a major regional force and a national presence in the industry.

In its latest deal Meridian is acquiring the business of Batemans Toyota at Grange-over-Sands on the edge of the Lake District. It now has a total of 10 Toyota centres making the group one of the largest Toyota Network Partners in the UK.

The new dealership will trade as Vantage Toyota. It will continue to operate from the current location for the immediate future whilst a search for a new and improved location within the area is underway.

Once a new site is secured, supermarket group E.H. Booth & Co Ltd will begin construction of a new food store at the Station Square location.

Mark Robinson, the founder and managing director of Meridian Motor Group, said:

“ We are delighted to announce this latest acquisition. It extends our Vantage brand into a new but complementary geographic region and fits in well with the ambitious expansion plans we have for the Group. We are very proud to be one of the largest Toyota partners in the UK.

“ We put a high value on providing our customers with great vehicles and outstanding service and we look forward to delivering the same to existing and new customers in this new area.”

Ian Worth, chairman of Batemans Toyota, said:

“ We are pleased that the business is being transferred into the ownership of Vantage Toyota which is a well respected operator within the Toyota network already operating from sites in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

“Our customers can be assured that the high levels of service they have experienced in the past will be maintained.”

This latest deal follows the acquisition of four West Midlands dealerships and the development of a new site in Scarborough in June which saw the Lexus and Kia marques added to the Toyota and Hyundai brands already in the Group portfolio.

The series of moves, which bring the number of Vantage dealerships to 13, doubles its previous size as well as extending its geographic reach, are a signal of the group’s ambition to become a national force.

The enlarged Group sells more than 10,000 new and used cars a year.

Meridian Motor Group was founded in 2003 by managing director, Mark Robinson with the purchase of two Toyota centres, in Knaresborough and York and an accident repair centre in Knaresborough.

Its rigorous focus on high quality standards and staff development has seen the Group rank at Number Two of UK Toyota dealerships for customer satisfaction among its Top 20 volume partners in the country.

Mr Robinson added:

“I am delighted that we are able to continue marking a decade of achievement within the group with this series acquisitions and developments.

“They signal our ambition to become a real national force whilst at the same time retaining those important ‘local business’ qualities which see us operating at the heart of the communities where we are based.

“Our aim is to take the Vantage ethos of excellence in customer service that has been fundamental to the success of the Group to date into our new dealerships and new geographic areas.

“We will be investing significantly in our new sites which is good news for staff and customers.”

Meridian was advised on the acquisition by Ian Gilbert, Joy Irving, Judith Pike and Charlotte Harris of law firm Walker Morris.

Mark Robinson, MD Vantage Motor Group, Birmingham. 3rd June 2013.
Mark Robinson, MD Vantage Motor Group

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