Arnold Clark

arnold clark history

The History of Arnold Clark

Over the years, Arnold Clark Automobiles has grown into Europe's largest privately
owned car dealer, selling in excess of 200,000 vehicles per year and generating an
annual turnover of over £3 billion. The success of the company can be attributed
to its founder, who is still at the helm of the company today.

Click on the years below to find out more

1954 | 60s | 70s | 80s | 90s | 2000 | 2010

Sir Arnold Clark
1954
First Arnold Clark Showroom Opens

Sir Arnold's success began over 50 years ago when, after leaving his position as a Motor Mechanics Instructor with the Royal Air Force, he found himself unable to secure a job. As a result he started his own business.

Arnold Clark purchased a Morris Ten Four for £70 and, after many careful hours restoring the car to its original condition, sold it for a profit. From this first venture, Sir Arnold began to buy and sell cars, resulting in the opening of the first Arnold Clark showroom in 1954 in Glasgow's Park Road.

1960s
Arnold Clark Continues To Grow

Arnold purchases three more garages in Bothwell Street (Glasgow), Paisley and Bearsden. The Finance arm of the company is launched, initially lending money to his best customers to finance the purchase of their vehicle.

Arnold Clark Automobiles extends into the Rental market with the launch of the short term car and van rental facility. This area of the business now has a fleet of over 5500 vehicles throughout the UK.

1966
Arnold Clark Finance Wins Contract Hire Deal

Arnold Clark (Finance) obtains its first Contract Hire contract, providing the firm Arnott Young with 30 vehicles.

1968
Vinicombe Street Accident Repairs Opens

The Arnold Clark Group takes over Grant, Melrose and Tenant - a well-established garage group established in 1908. The company acquires an Accident Repair Centre in Vinicombe Street, Glasgow, in the process.

1970s
Mount Vernon Complex Opens

The Arnold Clark group adds a multi-site complex in Mount Vernon to the ever-growing portfolio of dealerships, which introduced the Jaguar, Rover, Triumph, Austin, Land Rover and MG franchises.

1978
Arnold Clark Begins Partnership With Motability

The Group begins underwriting Motability Finance at its Austin Rover dealership.

1979
Arnold Clark Gains Renault Franchise

The Group gains its first foreign franchise - Renault - and, within a year, becomes the largest Renault dealer in Scotland.

1980s
Arnold Clark Becomes Scotland's Largest Dealer

The Group acquires another well-established motor group: Macharg, Rennie and Lindsay (now known as Machargs). Throughout the 80s, Arnold acquires another 13 dealerships, culminating in the purchase of the Ron Hutcheson Motors Group in the North East of Scotland, 1988. The Group establishes itself as Scotland's largest dealer group.

During the 80s, The Contract Hire division grows dramatically, specialising in Local Authority Government and large plc contracts.

1990s
Arnold Clark Develops Super Site At Linwood

Arnold Clark develops a super-site at Phoenix Park, Linwood. It all started with Vauxhall and Citroen, and now boasts 6 franchises on-site: Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Citroen, Vauxhall and Chevrolet.

1993
Arnold Clark Insurance Services Formed

Arnold Clark Insurance Services is formed. ACIS is an independent insurance broker with a panel of over 20 insurers, covering the insurance market for motoring, household and travel.

1994
Arnold Clark Expands To Liverpool

Arnold ventures South of the border with the launch of a 'car supermarket' in Liverpool, marking his first retail operation in England.

1995
Arnold Clark Continues To Grow

Another year, another addition to the Arnold Clark group. Or 10 to be precise. This year also sees the centralisation of all Group Marketing activity in-house.

2000s
Arnold Clark Receives Lifetime Achievement

With outlets as far north as Inverness, to Birmingham in the south, Arnold Clark Automobiles has now emerged as a national car dealer. With the total number of dealerships in England now standing at 10, 2002 was the busiest year to date in terms of acquiring new dealerships.

Arnold Clark also receives a Lifetime Achievement Award in the National Business Awards.

2003
Arnold Clark Acquires GTG
Arnold Clark's expansion activities are now focused south of the border in the year that the company records the highest profits to date.

Accolades awarded with in 2003 include: Insider Elite of the Year and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.

2004
Arnold Clark Celebrates 50 Years
After receiving a Knighthood in recognition of his services to the Motor Industry and his contribution to the Scottish community, Arnold Clark becomes Sir Arnold Clark.

Sir Arnold also receives the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Master Entrepreneur.

2005
Arnold Clark Receives Honorary Degree

Sir Arnold Clark can now add 'Doctor' to his ever-growing number of titles as he receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow.

The Arnold Clark Group is also noted by the Sunday Times as one of the UK's fastest growing companies.

2006
Arnold Clark Opens Record Breaking Dealerships

The Arnold Clark Group take over Harry Fairbairn - Scotland's leading BMW and MINI dealer group. Two record breaking dealerships also open: the Ultimate BMW Aftersales Facility in Giffnock, and Machargs - Europe's largest car showroom - on Glasgow's Clydeside.

This year has also seen the steady development of a beneficial partnership between the company and various headline charities, such as The Princes Trust.

2007
Arnold Clark Opens £10m Training Facility

The new £10 million state of the art custom built conference centre, GTG Training, is officially opened on the regenerated Clydeside area of Glasgow.

The 61,000 sq ft centre is split into two dedicated sections; the fully operational transport division caters for every aspect in automotive training whilst the IT and business skills division provides a broad range of business skill training courses and a superb conference area.

2008
Arnold Clark Opens In Stafford

Arnold Clark opens their largest and most ambitious new build project in October. The largest Arnold Clark Motorstore, located at prime point 14, at Junction 14 off the M6, costing £12 million, accommodates a staggering 1,000 vehicles, uses the latest green building technology, and employs over 200 new members of staff.

2009
Arnold Clark Group Announces 4 New Branches

Award-winning Arnold Clark is delighted to announce the acquisition and addition of four new branches to the Group. Previously owned by the GK Group, the new branches located in Dumfries, Carlisle, Penrith and Workington began trading as Arnold Clark from 10th December 2009.

2010
The Arnold Clark Group receives the Sword Award

The Group receives the Sword Award from the British Safety Council - the pinnacle of achievement in Health & Safety management.

The Group acquires the Skoda franchise.

2011
Arnold Clark is named Automotive Dealer Website
of the Year


For the third consecutive year arnoldclark.com is named the number one Automotive Dealer Website by Experian Hitwise UK, for 2008 - 2010.
Arnold Clark embraces social media with Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The Group acquires the Chrysler and Jeep franchise.

2012
Arnold Clark is awarded Retailer of the Year award

Arnold Clark is awarded Retailer of the Year and Tyre Retailer of the Year for 2012 by Automotive Management.

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