A Telford based business, which has become one of the largest automotive groups in the UK, says its heart is still in its home county, despite continued growth on a wider scale.
The Greenhous Group is gearing up for another huge year, with an expanding portfolio of clients, new sites, more investment in its green credentials and further commitment to apprenticeships.
The business was founded in 1912 when the late Vincent Greenhous borrowed £50 from his father, Arthur, who manufactured and sold agricultural equipment and building in the small town of Bishop’s Castle.
It has since grown into a £1.4 billion turnover, supplying more than 70,000 vehicles per year and working with DAF, Ford, MG, Nissan, Vauxhall, Fiat Professional and Volkswagen Commercial.
The Greenhous Group sells customers new and used cars, vans and trucks from several outlets across the country.
Dealers also offer drivers a range of other services like MOTs, servicing and repairs and maintenance.
Greenhous is a huge employer, with more than 1,400 staff – around 800 in Shropshire and the Midlands.
And, despite its incredible rise, Ashley Passant, Managing Director of the company’s car division, said: “We are entrenched in the West Midlands and are very proud to be from Shropshire.
“We do invest further afield and have become a national business – we stretch from the Isle of Wight to Edinburgh and that’s our footprint now. But we are still headquartered in Telford and Shropshire plays a prominent role in our business day-to-day.”
The Light commercial and passenger car side of the business operates out of High Ercall. And Ashley has seen huge progress over the last 12 months.
He said: “The last year has been one of significant growth. We have taken on two new sites from the LCV, passenger car perspective – a 40 acre site in Bicester and 14 acre one in Edinburgh
“Our total footprint across the country means we can now hold anything up to 22,500 vehicles on the ground at anyone time. It’s a big operation.”
The business has exciting times ahead in 2024. One huge positive is its work, locally, in training apprentices.
“We have 40 in our Midlands operations,” says Ashley. “We have aligned ourselves with Wolverhampton College and took our first wave of apprentices in July 2022.
“It has been a real success story from our perspective and hopefully Wolverhampton College see it like that as well.
“It can be hard to make transition from college to real world and we try to make that as easy as possible. We have worked with the college to provide curriculum appropriate advice for what the sector requires to help make graduates as attractive as possible. The college has been really receptive of the knowledge we offer them.”
Business wise, the company is bringing a new manufacturer to market, in Shropshire, called Omoda and Jaecoo, who partner with Jaguar Land Rover, in China.
“There are exciting times and this will drive additional jobs into the dealership,” adds Ashley. “Shrewsbury will be part of a first wave of Omoda/Jaecoo showrooms in the country and that will hopefully bring a bit of attention.
“We will be on the hunt for expertise as there is always a recruitment element with each manufacturer we bring in to the business as each requires specialists.”
Greenhous has also seen its truck division grow hugely in recent years, according to its Managing Director Kevin Swinnerton.
There are now 850 people in the truck division, half of which are vehicle technicians.
“We have really seen our Shropshire roots expand around the UK,” said Kevin. “But we are still very focused on our core roots. Our people are manufacture trained, experienced and have a fantastic ethos with a true commitment to quality.”
Kevin was asked to increase the Greenhous portfolio of truck representation within the brand, and has done so, working with DAF, leaders in the UK, with a market share of 32 per cent.
“When I joined the truck division in 2019, we had five commercial dealerships, all based in the Midlands and we set about increasing our representation,” he said.
“Today we operate with 23 sites and go as far north as Wigan and south to Cambourne in Cornwall. We have our sites strategically placed to provide the best national coverage for our customers.”
“We continue to invest and 2024 will see a further increase to our presence across the UK and this year we will open a brand-new truck dealership in Bridgewater, Somerset and a new site in Plymouth. We will also open a dedicated Parts distribution centre in Liverpool”.
“The new sites are significant investments for the group with premium facilities for our DAF brand, sustainability is our focus with innovation on energy saving including solar, water harvesting, we are on the road to a cleaner and sustainable solutions.”
A major focus, moving forward, will be the move towards electric trucks.
“It’s the biggest change in the truck industry, changing how they are powered across the country,” says Kevin.
“We are committed to certified electric truck centres with specialist electric truck infrastructure, trained technicians and fully equipped workshop facilities to diagnose, service and repair.”
“Our path is to support our customers as they transition to zero emissions and by investing in the right locations, we can ensure we have the personnel, expertise and infrastructure in place for them.”
“With the LF and New Generation XD and XF trucks, DAF provide a full e-Range portfolio. Comprising both tractors and rigids and each truck can be tailored to suit the vehicle’s application and customer needs.”
“The Road Haulage Association shares important data, one that stands out to me is in the UK, 98% of all food and agricultural products are transported by road freight. At Greenhous we are proud to be at the front of providing the support and infrastructure for our customers to sustain this huge commitment to keep the UK moving.”
Source: Shropshire Star