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Inverness based motor group announces successful management buy-out with big plans to boost staff numbers and double turnover to £100 million

By Neil MacPhail

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Front - Fraser Bryce with new directors: Jim Mackenzie, Jamie Dunlop, Douglas Laird and Linda MacPhee.
Front - Fraser Bryce with new directors: Jim Mackenzie, Jamie Dunlop, Douglas Laird and Linda MacPhee.

MOTOR group Dicksons of Inverness, has completed a multi-million pound management buy-out, with a five-year forecast of staffing levels reaching 100, and turnover doubling to £100million.

The multi-million-pound deal was concluded on March 15, and a five-team board of directors will take the company forward.

The company is currently based at Telford Retail Park in Inverness but its origins lie in Perth. The Dicksons Motor Company was founded there by Tommy Dickson in 1957, running several dealerships from Dunblane to Forres.

Alistair Scrimgeour joined the group in the 1970s and, along with colleague Hugh Bryce, led the group through various franchise appointments and acquisitions.

Mr Scrimgeour and colleague Jimmy Gibson bought the Forres business from the DIckson family to form Dicksons of Forres Ltd in the late 1980s.

Jim Mackenzie moved to Inverness in the 1990s as Honda sales manager and became sales director of the Dicksons group in 2008, and Fraser Bryce became managing director in 2018 and began to plan the firm’s growth strategy with his fellow directors.

“Ally, Jimmy and Hugh have been the backbone of Dicksons for over three decades,” said Mr Bryce. “Over the past five years we have achieved huge milestones, including adding the MG brand, purchasing Duncans and RM Browns, giving us five dealerships and creating our very own new brand, CARZAR.

“We launched Dicksons Parts Direct, adding Peugeot, Citroen, DS and many other parts manufacturers making Dicksons the biggest privately-owned genuine parts supplier in the Highlands.”

He added that he company is also moving forward with a commitment to younger drivers. It launched its £1million CARZAR showroom last year, with the aim of making cars more affordable for young people, and this year it announced it had selected 12 young drivers throughout the Highlands, aged between 17 and 24, that the company would put through their tests and pay for their driving lessons.

“We have increased our workshop capacity from 12 to 21 ramps and our sales team now sells over 2,000 cars a year,” said Mr Bryce. “We also employ more than 80 people across 30 different roles.

“Our four franchised brands of KIA, Nissan, Suzuki and MG give us a fantastic depth of choice to offer, and I would have no hesitation in saying we have the best franchises offering our customers the best choice in the Highlands.”

The MBO has been in the offing for some time and the company welcomed Linda MacPhee, Jamie Dunlop and Douglas Laird to the board in late 2022, as it prepared to take the next step.

Mr Bryce said: “I am pleased to confirm that on Friday, March 15 Jim, Linda, Jamie, Dougie and I completed the purchase of the company from the Scrimgeour family. “Although this is a significant event for the company, it cements our plans to remain in private ownership while expanding further across the Highlands automotive landscape. Hugh Bryce will continue to assist the board going forward.”

Following the sale, Alistair Scrimgeour announced his retirement.

The five-dealership motor group currently turns over about £50million, but Mr Bryce said the company planned to double this before 2030.

“We have a five-year strategy to grow to 100 staff and £100million turnover, with additional premises already selected to house the additional sites.”

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