Tell us more about Carlease UK, where did it all begin?
The story of CarLease UK began over 50 years ago when Alan King changed his career from mining surveyor to a mechanic / motor dealer.
Operating from premises in Haydock, Alan went on to create one of the first (and leading) Audi / Volkswagen franchised dealerships in the UK – Kings of Haydock. The business went from strength to strength as sons Mike and Phil joined the business in the 1970s.
In 1985, Kings of Haydock was sold to Rigby Turner and a new family business Grange Services was formed. The family continued to work within the vehicle industry until new premises were acquired in Leigh.
Photo 1: Alan King. Photo 2: Original garage and petrol station, Haydock 1960s. Photo 3: St.Helens Newspaper May 1976
Kings was re- formed at the premises in Leigh in 1998 from where it still operates today on Warrington Road. Offering nearly new and used prestige vehicles coupled with an onsite servicing department and valet team, Kings established its reputation as one of the Northwest’s leading vehicle businesses.
In a “light bulb” moment in 2007, Mike realised that the contract hire and leasing industry was rapidly growing and that was the model for the future.
KINGS VW and Audi GARAGE, HAYDOCK circa 1980
A brave decision was taken to re invent the business and change from a successful retail enterprise into a small owner-managed leasing proposition – Grange Court Leasing. This new business initiative steadily grew in conjunction with the new online and digital platforms which we take for granted today. In 2010, Mike’s son Rob left a career in law to join the business and brought about major change in processes to enhance the business offering. In the same year, to enhance branding, the business became CarLease UK and VanLease UK with the original signage shown below
As a relatively new market, the contract hire and leasing industry has faced numerous challenges – the financial crisis of 2006, the move from the FSA to the FCA, GDPR, WLTP, VED, RDE and now “Brexit”. These terms probably mean very little to most people but to us, and our industry, these all presented enormous challenges and still do.
The biggest success for our business has been that our key principles have remained the same. We have taken greater pride in customer service and quality as opposed to volume and profit. It is no surprise that we have remained as Number 2 on
Trustpilot out of 92 Leasing Brokers in the UK for some time. Our ethical values have contributed to local and national success with
- Winner of ‘Family Business of the Year’Wigan Business Awards 2017
- Winner of ‘Best Small Leasing Broker Award’at the Leasing Broker Federation Awards 2018 in Birmingham
Photo 1: from left to right: Mike, Phil, Rob King. Photo 2: Mike King centre receives the Best Small Leasing Brokertrophy from Chair of the Judges Robert Wastell (left) and award sponsor Ian Simpson. Photo 3: CarleaseUK present day.