In 1968, British Touring Car Champion Frank Sytner and his older brother Alan (owner of the infamous Cavern Club in Liverpool) opened their first dealership in Nottingham; little did they know that this would form the start of the Sytner Group - a company that would grow to encompass 20 of the world's most desirable car manufacturers in over 140 dealerships across the UK.
Just two years later in 1970, Frank began his venture into the world of motorsport, starting a career in Formula Ford 1600 before moving into Clubmans Formula Ford 2000. After a successful 10 year Formula motorsport career, Frank moved into the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) where he would prove himself as a formidable racing driver and earn the nickname 'Fearless' due to his incredibly competitive and uncompromising racing style.
Frank's BTCC career started in 1982 when he started racing a Rover 3500S for Team Sanyo Racing, after a season of mixed results Frank naturally gravitated towards BMW and started to race for Grace International Racing. Solely driving BMW's from then on, Frank achieved his first overall BTCC win in 1988 and became British Touring Car Champion – a title he would earn again in 1990.
It was after two BTCC wins that Frank decided to focus his energy on expanding the BMW business, putting his notorious racing energy and insatiably competitive driving style to work outside of racing. In 1993, the expansion began with the acquisition of a BMW dealership in Leicester and the creation of a new BMW dealership in Sheffield.
After spending many years working exclusively with BMW, the decision was then made to diversify the group and take on other prestige marques; by 1997 the dealership count had reached double figures and included brands such as Ferrari, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover and Porsche. In light of the ever-growing success, the company was renamed Sytner Group PLC and floated on the stock market later on in the same year.
Continuing to go from strength-to-strength, the group acquired Guy Salmon's family-run Land Rover and Jaguar business in Thames Ditton – renowned for their service and reliability, this would become not only the operating name for all Sytner Jaguar and Land Rover dealerships but also the expected level of service.
The group's largest acquisition came in 1999, when the Ixion Motor Group was purchased. This move effectively doubled the number of Sytner dealerships and saw the addition of multiple Jaguar dealerships, Land Rover Coventry and Saab Oxford to name but a few.
Throughout Sytner's incredible story and despite its rapid growth, Frank always held the company's mission statement of offering unparalleled customer service and one team ethos, at the pinnacle of importance. Roger Penske, Chairman of United Auto Group (later renamed Penske Automotive Group in 2007) shared in both Frank's racing background and business ethics. Seeing parallels between the two businesses and a chance to expand operations into the UK, UAG announced an offer to purchase Sytner Group on February 12th 2002.
Being under the wing of one of the USA's largest automotive retail groups has allowed Sytner Group to continually develop and improve, meaning the creation of some of the UK's most outstanding dealership facilities and an unrivalled approach to customer service.
Penske's acquisition of the Sytner Group kick started a further three years of rapid expansion and would see the total number of dealerships grow into triple figures. Sharing best practice with Penske has allowed Sytner Group to create state-of-the-art dealerships and a style of business that changes people's preconceptions of 'the typical car garage'.
With an unwavering focus on customer service, 2006 saw the creation of a new head office and training and development building where all of the Group's central services would be based. With a major focus on highly knowledgably staff and impeccable customer service, Sytner training and development host over 400 courses each year at Penman Way; inviting everyone from new starters on induction courses to managers on management courses.
In early 2012, Sytner Group expanded its operations across the waters by acquiring Isaac Agnews Holdings; a long standing family owned Northern Ireland Group, with a similar resolute focus on customer experience. Offering another avenue for the sharing of best practice, both Sytner Group and Agnews benefit from a very close relationship and constant communications between many departments across both companies.
The unwavering efforts to offer continual development and a one team ethos throughout life at Sytner has enabled the company to achieve a top five position in the 'Sunday Times Best Big Companies to Work for' for six consecutive years. In 2015 the Group has achieved its best result to date finishing second and also being awarded the coveted Three Star Award for the third year running. The Three Star Award has only ever been awarded to a very small number of 'big companies' in the fourteen years of the competition.
To this day, the Group still honours the one team spirit that was instilled by Frank and his motorsport background. Whilst aiming to be the leading retailer of prestige cars in the UK, we are proud to still retain a strong family feel throughout our entire business. Striving to continue our past success and to follow in Frank Sytner's uncompromising driving style, Sytner Group endeavours to offer an uncompromised customer experience; making each and every interaction special and always going the extra mile for our customers.