THE ROVER’S RETURN
Brayleys Cars newly appointed franchise director, Richard Lodge, was delighted when he heard he was to be based at their Kia site in Oxford: the city is where he began his retailing career over twenty-five years ago.
Recalls Richard: ‘Having grown up in Yorkshire, I was employed by a national motor group who sent me to their large Rover dealership on the Botley Road in Oxford. After a short spell in the service department I joined the sales team and never looked back. I immediately loved the area and the local characters, and if I’m honest I had a great regard for the Rover cars too. Even after the passing of all these years I am still in touch with several of my colleagues from that time.’
In the intervening years Richard has worked for several employers and represented various brands, but even though he made his home in Bicester in 1996, work has taken him away from the Oxford area.
‘After working as a business manager, firstly for Citroen on Cumnor Hill and later Toyota in Banbury, I became a sales manager for the Honda dealership in Wheatley before taking on the same position at the brand’s Guildford outlet. Although I returned to Oxford for a short spell in 2005, much of the time since has been spent working in the Beaconsfield area.’
Richard’s previous role for Brayleys Cars was as general manager of their Milton Keynes dealership, a role he took on in 2017. As franchise director he will look after Brayleys’ representation of their Mazda, Renault and Kia brands.
So, after all these years and garages, does he have a favourite?
‘This one of course!’ he jokes.
‘In all seriousness, the Kia brand is amazing – a huge range of cars, including electric, and all backed by a 7-year warranty. And although most people won’t be aware, we have a huge showroom at Rose Hill and a completely covered used car display upstairs. And any of my old customers fancy popping in for a coffee, I’d love to see them – especially if they’ve still got their Rover!’