Colin Appleyard started his career as an apprentice motorcycle mechanic, working his way through the ranks of a long established local motorcycle company to the position of Sales Director, dealing in Triumph and other famous British marques. At the age of 34, Colin eventually took the plunge and started his own one-man business.
The rest, as they say, is history. Colin Appleyard Limited first opened in modest premises in the town of Keighley, West Yorkshire in 1970. The original premises were quickly outgrown and in 1975 the company moved into a large town centre property of 12,000 square feet.
Following considerable refurbishment, the new premises in Worth Way were rightly described as the biggest and best in the North of England. One year later the Chief Executive of Honda UK and industry icon, Eric Sulley performed the opening ceremony of the first Honda Five Star Service Centre in this part of the country.
It was in 1979 that Colin Appleyard, then selling motorcycles in Keighley, West Yorkshire, first heard of plans by Suzuki to start importing cars. Thus Colin Appleyard Cars became the first Suzuki car retailer in the UK and still, we remain the UK's No. 1 Suzuki dealer.
During 1997 Mr Osami Tanaka from Honda Racing Corporation visited our Keighley dealership and in June 1998 we were officially appointed as a Honda Racing Corporation dealer. One of only two HRC-appointed dealers outside Japan, the appointment reflects our extensive experience in dealing with the local, national and international motorcycle racing fraternity.
Now with a turnover of over £35m, Colin Appleyard Cars has four official Suzuki car dealerships and one multi-franchise motorcycle dealership and despite being still a relatively small, family operation, we are the largest volume Suzuki retail group in England and sell 5% of all new Suzuki cars in the UK. In 2012 Colin Appleyard added the Subaru brand to their Huddersfield and Ashton-Under-Lyne dealerships, and added Isuzu also to their Ashton branch. Then in April 2013, we acquired the Nissan dealership in Keighley.
To the Colin Appleyard team, the customer always comes first. We believe our customers enjoy the family-style atmosphere, and dealing in an open and honest manner with friendly, knowledgeable, long-serving staff and Trading Standards approved procedures and practices.
That's why we've been voted Suzuki Dealer of the Year seven times, and that's the kind of service we'll continue to offer. All this is backed by our in-house spares, warranty, accessories and servicing facilities delivered in the unique, friendly and professional Colin Appleyard style.
Our Keighley car showroom includes the company's head office with responsibility for all of the financial and commercial interests of the company's dealerships. Between the motorcycle dealership at Keighley and our five car dealerships at Keighley, Bradford, Huddersfield and Manchester we employ over 130 people dedicated to setting new benchmarks in service and value for our customers.