From humble beginnings...
Sparshatts of Kent has been synonymous with Mercedes-Benz in Kent for 40 years. Today the group operates four well-established sales and service sites across the county - but the road to success has not been without the odd twist and turn!
The story began at the 1974 International Motor Show at Earls Court, London, where Roger Sparshatt, David Jones and the late Jack Sparshatt met the then Commercial Vehicle Manager of Mercedes-Benz UK, Peter Yates. A second meeting soon followed, which resulted in Roger and David being awarded the franchise for Kent - and told to find some premises as soon as possible.
Early in November of 1974 a site was located on the Eurolink Industrial Estate, in Sittingbourne. On a dark, rain-swept evening Hans Taucher, Mercedes-Benz's Director of Operations, Commercial Vehicles, drove down to Sittingbourne and after driving through the building, using his headlights to illuminate the interior, he declared it perfect for the job.
The lease was secured and business started during early December 1974 - our first vehicle customer was CRG Plant of Whitstable, which purchased a 206D Chassis cab and a 2419 six-wheeled tipper. The first year of operations resulted in a loss of £9000 but the foundations for today's success had been laid. The following year sales had increased considerably and the workshop was full.
As the business grew so did Roger & David's knowledge of the Kent 'patch' and its truck operators - they soon had to borrow a 30,000sq ft warehouse just to store vehicles awaiting August 1st delivery. Acknowledgment of this success came when, in 1984, Daimler-Benz asked David and Roger to speak with a group of South African dealers regarding used vehicles. A few years later David Jones escorted 21 Part Exchange tractors units to South Africa to a very hungry market place.
Meanwhile back in Sittingbourne business was continuing to grow. More space was added to the building but even this soon proved inadequate, so in 1988 a new, purpose-built dealership was constructed.
Other developments soon followed - including a new computer system and the launch of one of Britain's first 24-hour workshops, meaning vehicles could be serviced while their drivers slept.
Further expansion came with the opening of a second depot at Ashford, and then a third at Dartford; With the acquisition of Kent and Sussex Trucks in 2006, Sparshatts secured its representation across Kent.
Our success in representing the three-pointed star in Kent, and our commitment to the highest possible levels of service, has helped Sparshatts of Kent to win the coveted Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicle Dealer of the Year title not once but twice.
Thirty years on from those humble beginnings many of our early customers are still with us, as are a good number of our original staff. Today we employ more than people 180 people.
While we continue to build for a successful future, our original values of personal service and commitment to our customers remain as strong as ever. Sparshatts of Kent remains a family run company, with second-generation members of the Jones and Sparshatt family working in the business.