Simon Moulton officially begins his new job on April 2. That’s when VT Holdings takes possession of the business, which has Mitsubishi showrooms across the south of England, in towns such as Melksham, Wiltshire and Reading, Berkshire.
The group of 11 dealerships, which up until now has been manufacturer-owned, was sold to Japan-based VT Holdings in a deal that was ‘too good to turn down,’ according to Mitsubishi MD Lance Bradley.
Moulton has plenty of Mitsubishi experience, having run four Mitsubishi dealerships for the Southgate Group, which fell victim to the recession and called in the administrators last year. He then joined the Colt Car Retail Group last November.
Moulton told Car Dealer: ‘I’d only been on board for three months when I was told of the VT Holdings takeover and that they were keen to recruit someone domestically – a UK-based director. My title in Southgate Group was operations director on the Mitsubishi side so the next step up is obviously MD.
‘It was the role I’d probably aspired to in my former life and it’s great to have finally landed it.’
Moulton said 156 people were employed at Colt Car Retail but wouldn’t be drawn when asked about possible changes to staff numbers.
He told us: ‘There are some really great people there. I’m excited to be working with them. VT Holdings have got a tremendous pedigree in Japan for turning businesses around.
‘It’s nice to have the shackles released of being manufacturer-owned and with some of the sites, we’ll be able to do some of the things that you can’t do when you’re owned by a manufacturer.
‘Maybe other franchises will come in, but that’s probably a way down the line.
‘The important thing at the moment is to look at the structure of the sites and get them working as we, Mitsubishi and VT Holdings would want them to work.’
Even without the addition of other marques, Moulton is convinced the future is bright: ‘I think there is a tremendous opportunity with Mitsubishi. We’re anticipating some quite exciting products coming in the next 12 to 18 months. The L200 [pick-up] will remain strong and that should see us through until we get some of the new product.
‘What’s interesting about VT is that this is their first venture into the European automotive market so it might be the start of much greater things.
‘For the people in the Colt Retail Group it’s a really exciting time to be taken over. They’re in at the start of something that could be quite big in the future.’