When Philip Haupt left his managerial role at Bletchley Motor Group in 1994 to set up his own chain of car dealerships, his colleagues told him he was mad. The industry was dominated by large motor companies, they said, and a small regional dealer would not stand a chance. Haupt has proved them wrong. He began with a single site in Milton Keynes, then added three Honda dealerships, four Suzuki dealerships and a car-hire firm. Sales have risen 69% a year, from £3.2m in 1996 to £15.4m in 1999. Haupt has accelerated growth by acquiring under-performing companies cheaply and turning them into profitable ventures. Many in his industry seek national coverage but Haupt is content for Braylake to remain ‘a strong regional motor group’.
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