Harrogate-based Vantage Motor Group is celebrating its crystal anniversary, 15 years during which it has grown from its Knaresborough head office to encompass 24 new and used car dealerships across Northern England and the West Midlands.
The Group now has over 700 employees, representing the Toyota, Kia, Citroen, Honda, Hyundai, ŠKODA and Lexus brands.
Managing director Mark Robinson founded the business in 2003 and the Group marked the occasion at a special long service dinner last Monday at Al Bivio in Harrogate.
He said: “I started out with a vision to offer a different kind of car buying experience and to change the perceptions of the industry. Fifteen years on, I’m proud to celebrate our anniversary with countless loyal customers and 700 colleagues without whom our success could not have been achieved.
“We remain committed to providing the best standards for all our customers and our ‘Passion to Please’ motto has helped us build a reputation as a trusted and respected business not just in our Yorkshire home, but all over the North of England and the Midlands.”
Vantage reported a record turnover last year of £262million – a 25 per cent year-on-year increase. A key component in this is Vantage’s commitment to its staff and customers with a mission statement to provide the best level of standards and service possible.
Vantage’s story began when Robinson founded the company with the purchase of three Toyota dealerships in Knaresborough, York and later Bridlington in 2003. The Group expanded with the acquisition of three more Toyota sites in Lancashire in 2007 before extending its offering to Hyundai in 2011.
Marking its tenth anniversary in 2013, Vantage strategically expanded into the Midlands by taking on new brands including Honda, Lexus, Kia and Citroen. This was followed by the purchase of Vantage’s first ŠKODA site in Morecambe in 2015.
Robinson fulfilled a long-held ambition in 2016 by owning a business in his hometown of Blackpool with the acquisition of a Citroen dealership. With expansion into Wolverhampton earlier in this year, Vantage Motor Group is now one of the UK’s largest Toyota dealers with 13 sites.
The success of Vantage is demonstrated through the development of its staff. Glen Ramskill has been with the business since day one and has progressed through the ranks to his current role as North Yorkshire General Manager. In recent years, Glen has been recognised with a prestigious Toyota President’s Club Award in Rome and shortlisted for industry honours including the Automotive Management Awards.
He said: “Since Mark founded the business 15 years ago, there has been so much positive change. Not only has the business grown to be one of Toyota’s largest partners in the UK, but also the facilities have been constantly improved with investment inside and out.
“What I like most about Vantage is we always look to promote from within and staff are provided with opportunities to grow with the business. I believe this is a key foundation in making the business a success and one that has allowed the company to expand the way it has.”
Jenny Overend, sales administrator, has been with Toyota Knaresborough for over 20 years. She said: “Back in 1996 I started working for Knaresborough Toyota, so I was already here when Mark acquired the business 15 years ago. Following Mark’s acquisition, the company rapidly emerged from the ‘dark ages’!
“Whilst working for Vantage I’ve seen many changes in the company along with considerable growth, and throughout I have always felt that I am a valued and respected member of the team, along with many others.”
During Vantage’s 15 years, it has also become a Patron of The Prince’s Trust – the UK’s leading youth charity which has helped more than 825,000 young people into work, education or training.