Parts company doubles turnover as more people repair cars than buy new

Mike Hands at Allmakes, which has moved to a new warehouse after seeing its business more than double in size. Picture: OX56603 David Fleming

Mike Hands at Allmakes, which has moved to a new warehouse after seeing its business more than double in size. Picture: OX56603 David Fleming Buy this photo

First published in Didcot Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Business Editor. Call me on 01865 425460

AN AWARD-WINNING motor parts firm has completed its second move in four years after seeing its business more than double in size.

And unlike many firms struggling in the current economic climate, Allmakes 4X4 says the recession has actually been good for business.

The company has spent £1m on a new 100,000 sq ft warehouse on Milton Park, near Didcot. It outgrew its former premises on the park, which it only moved into in 2008.

Now the firm, which recruited 20 staff last year taking its total workforce to 140, is looking to keep on the expansion trail as it continues to buck the trend.

Communications manager Mike Hands said: “Moving was an Olympic effort. When we last moved into 60,000 sq ft premises on the park in 2008, we said we really didn’t think it would happen again so quickly.

“But we have doubled our turnover in that period.

“Customers are growing and the way we do business is changing with people carrying less stock and requiring faster deliveries.”

Mr Hands added that the double dip recession may have contributed to the expansion of the business, which supplies Land Rover parts and accessories to more than 90 countries.

He said: “In a recession people tend to repair their cars rather than buying new.

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“We have also embraced innovation, for example through our e-portal facility, a form of e-commerce that now accounts for 50 per cent of our business.”

Allmakes 4X4 was the Oxfordshire Business of the Year in 2011 and in the same year won its second Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the international trade category.

In the last four years its turnover has grown from £16.5m to £36m.

This year the business was listed in The Sunday Times International Track 200, which recognises firms with the fastest-growing international sales over two years.

Allmakes 4X4 was formed in 1977 by Mr Hands’ father Peter in a room at his home along with colleagues Terry Chipperfield and Hugh Smith.

The business expanded rapidly with several different sets of premises to the point where it now occupies office accommodation on Milton Park as well as the new warehouse.

And Mr Hands was keen to stress that the growth story shows no sign of stopping in its tracks with strong new markets opening up in countries such as Brazil and the Middle East.

Land Rover itself experienced sales growth of more than 29 per cent in the UK last year which is also good news for the business.

Mr Hands added: “This year we need a return on our investment but that does not mean we won’t be expanding and recruiting if we need to. We have an option on another 60,000 sq ft of space if necessary.”

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