20 years with the pedal to the metal – the history of Redline.
It seems like just yesterday that Redline Racing first started trading from a small used car pitch in the picturesque Yorkshire village of Pool-in-Wharfedale – to some, at least.
It started with a team of just two – Rob Milner & John Graeme. Two local lads selling 20 hot hatches every month from a 25 car pitch. They bought, sold, cleaned & delivered every car themselves. John came from an automotive finance background and Rob just loved buying and selling cars.
As the years went by, they found a way to squeeze 40 cars onto the forecourt and took on two more members of staff including a full-time valeter – a real luxury.
Their ambitions eventually got the better of them and they did a deal which allowed them to move to the much larger site Redline now currently occupy in Knaresborough. At the same time they took on a franchise for fledgeling sports car manufacturer Farbio as an additional arm to the business – you can see their logo on the image below. At that time there were around 60 cars on site.
The timing wasn’t great. Of course, they couldn’t have predicted it but in 2009 the credit crunch hit hard and Farbio consequently ceased production in 2010. Fortunately, they sold all the Farbio stock and despite challenging conditions which spelt the end for many well known performance car dealers, Redline made it through the credit crunch unscathed.
Business really began to accelerate in 2014 as the economic downturn began to release its grip & there was inwarde investment into the business which allowed the team to buy more – and better – stock. They also invested in digital infrastructure, realising that a good website and a strong brand were key to their expansion plans.
20 years later and Redline Specialist Cars stock over 200 vehicles on site and sell more than 120 vehicles per month to all corners of the UK. They have 28 full-time staff.
Redline is now one of the UK’s largest independent car dealerships, having been listed in Motor Trader magazine’s TOP 20 independent dealers for the last five years. This list includes the major independent multi-site car supermarkets. In fact, Redline’s turnover outstrips that of many dealer groups.
Widely recognised as one of the industry’s main social media influencers, Redline are one of only three independent businesses in the Car Dealer magazine Social Media Top 10.
“The best stock in the whole of the UK….”
How did we get here?
Many new customers think Redline is a relatively new business because of the strong growth achieved over the last five years. This has coincided with the rise of the smartphone, the growth in popularity of social media and the increase in the volume and value of Redline’s stock. A coincidence? The digital transformation of the automotive sector has allowed dealers like Redline to reach more customers far more easily and cost-effectively, and this has made a big difference.
As a business, Redline has always preferred to carve their own path rather than follow the herd and they don’t like to rest on their laurels. Over the last few years, they have focussed on buying the very best stock, pricing it correctly and making sure that customers have a really great experience when they enquire or buy #nopressure. Google reviews have been instrumental in giving customers the confidence to buy online and over the phone without ever visiting the dealership.
From Porsche 944 to 918….
One of the most recent and recognisable features of Redline’s marketing activity came about almost by accident. In 2016, a YouTuber by the name of Paul Wallace aka Supercars of London bought a BMW M3 from Redline and introduced the team to the ever-growing power of online video. Since then we have enjoyed looking after a number of the UK’s top automotive YouTubers including Archie Hamilton & Tom Exton (TGE TV) – and in case you were wondering, no they don’t get paid and yes, they do buy their cars just like all our other customers! Their visits to Redline and collaborations with General Manager Dean (@DeanRedline on Instagram) have generated millions of views on YouTube and introduced Redline to a whole new generation of customers.
The business has seen a lot of change in the last 20 years. AutoTrader is no longer a magazine, today’s hot hatches are more powerful than the sports & supercars of the late 90’s and it looks like many of us will be driving electric cars in the very near future. The future for Redline? We’ll just keep moving onwards and upwards!
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