A North East entrepreneur has driven away from the motor retail business he’s run for more than three decades after selling it to a national retailer.
The Hodgson Motor Group’s Toyota, Mazda and Suzuki dealerships at the Metrocentre in Gateshead and Silverlink in Newcastle, have become part of the Doncaster-headquartered Stoneacre Motor Group after managing director Steve Hodgson decided it was time to retire following two bouts of open heart surgery.
The entire 180-strong Hodgson workforce is being retained by Stoneacre, which intends to invest in continuing to grow its newly-acquired dealerships.
Jonathan Waters and Ben Jackson of the specialist corporate & commercial team at Hay & Kilner Law Firm in Newcastle acted on behalf of The Hodgson Motor Group in the disposal, which had originally been due to complete in March before being delayed by the pandemic.
Steve Hodgson joined what was his father’s motor repair and retail business from school in 1976 and led the group’s expansion into its first large purpose-built dealership at the Silverlink Retail Park in 1992, which was the initial stage of its development into a region-wide business with an annual turnover of around £80m.
Steve Hodgson says: “The business has always been based around family values and personal service, and we’ve continuously invested our profits back into it to support its organic growth and ensure we could provide everything that our customers wanted.
“The lasting relationships we’ve built with customers over the years, some of whom have bought dozens of cars from us, have been central to our success, and many of them have become both personal friends and ambassadors for the Hodgson business.
“Our franchise partners have also always recognised the quality of service and results that we’ve delivered, with Mark Roden and Ewan Shepherd of Toyota GB standing out in particular for their incredible support and efforts in getting this deal done.
“When I decided it was time to take a step back, we looked at a number of different firms who expressed an interest in taking the business on and it was clear from our very first meeting that Stoneacre had the same values and personal approach that we’ve always held.
“The deal was done on a handshake and it’s great to be leaving the business and our excellent team in such good hands.
“Hay & Kilner’s support over the years has been phenomenal, and even when the pandemic dictated that things didn’t quite go to plan with this deal, they kept things ticking along to make sure it could be completed as quickly as possible, with Jonathan and his team making everything much less stressful as a result.”
Stoneacre Motor Group represents 26 manufacturer partners in 59 locations with 120 franchised outlets.
Managing director Shaun Foweather said: “For over 30 years, Steve has operated a business in the Newcastle area and developed a great reputation with customers and has a very high level of staff loyalty.
“He is leaving the business in great shape and creates a fantastic opportunity for Stoneacre to grow it further.
“We’re retaining all of the existing team and intend to provide them with full head office support, training through the Stoneacre Training Academy and full integration into the Stoneacre Culture to ensure that customer satisfaction is further enhanced under the Stoneacre brand.
“I would like to wish Steve a happy and fulfilling retirement and welcome the Hodgson team into the Stoneacre family.”
Jonathan Waters, partner in Hay & Kilner’s specialist corporate & commercial team, adds: “All the parties have taken a very pragmatic approach to getting this deal done in the most difficult of circumstances, which has very much helped it reach a successful conclusion.
“Steve has been a hugely valued Hay & Kilner client for more than 30 years and has invested heavily in the regional economy throughout that time, so it’s great to now see him taking the chance to enjoy the fruits of his labours.”