Cameron Clarke: Staying in top gear

For a quarter of a century Cameron Clarke Leasing has worked to ensure its customers are in the driving seat when it comes to their motoring needs.

The Preston-based business is driven by personal service and that has remained at the heart of the company throughout the major changes witnessed in the motor trade over the past 25 years.

The business was founded in 1994 by directors Tony Cameron and Steven Clarke, who originally met when working for the Midland Bank in Manchester in the 1980s.

It began life in on office in the centre of Preston and today operates out of its own purpose-built headquarters in Ashton-on-Ribble, close to the city’s docklands and Motor City.

Steven says: “I’d always wanted to have my own business. The opportunity came up to take a franchise in Preston for Network Vehicles, part of the LeasePlan group.

“It looked a great opportunity. I contacted Tony, who was already running a business in Preston, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

The pair have worked hard over the past quarter of a century to build up both the business and its profile. And along the way they have had fun.

A look through past issues of Cameron Clarke’s company newsletter and you can find Tony wing walking and Steven throwing a Ducati bike around Donnington Park racetrack.

Today, with a 10-strong workforce and ambitious plans for further growth, the business delivers 1,000-plus cars & vans to its clients each year.

Cameron Clarke’s senior account managers have all been with the business for an average of 12 years or more ensuring customers receive expert knowledge and advice when acquiring their next vehicle which today, is particularly important when trying to choose from petrol, diesel, hybrid or fully electric vehicles – it’s confusing and one size definitely doesn’t fit all!

All staff attend regular industry awareness courses and are tasked to complete online training modules enabling the business to maintain the highest levels of customer service.

Cameron Clarke Leasing can source and supply any make or model of car or light commercial vehicle in the UK and its aim is to provide the most flexible funding options for business and personal customers.

As well as personal and business leasing for vehicles, the company also offers fleet management and operates a growing asset finance arm.

Delivering cars and vans nationwide, Steven is proud that the business offers unrivalled industry expertise with a strong focus on personal service.

He says: “It is our USP and has been from day one. And it is why we’ve got customers who have been with us for 20 years and more.

He says: “We listen to your requirements and can then offer the best independent and impartial advice.

Tony and Steven have witnessed and adapted to major changes in the way people get and stay on the road, when the business started most people still bought their cars from dealers, today growing numbers are taking the leasing route.

Tony says: “The model has totally changed. When we started, businesses made up almost all our customer base, today it is split 50-50 with personal customers.”

Fleet management is another area where the business has seen large-scale growth. Steven says: “We can do everything from motor insurance to maintenance, looking after replacement tyres and accident management.

“It’s the full range of service that we now also offer personal clients. The aim is to take motoring worries away from people with one monthly payment. We believe that is going to be one of the biggest growth markets for us moving forward.

Timeline:

1994: The business opens with its first offices in Ribblesdale Place, Preston.

1997: Cameron Clarke becomes an official sponsor to Preston North End providing club cars including the manager David Moyes

1999: Award from Lombard Contract Hire for the highest number of UK vehicle deliveries

2001: The company moves to bigger premises at Preston Technology Management Centre

2002: Cameron Clarke Asset Finance is launched

2003: The business receives Network Vehicles’ Platinum Club status

2004: First personal contract hire agreement written.

2005: Cameron Clarke invest in their own purpose-built offices in Ashton-on-Ribble

2007: Our first Hybrid Vehicle delivered – Lexus GS 450h

2010: We deliver our 10,000th vehicle.

2015: Cameron Clarke Leasing become authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

2016: The business delivers its 20,000th vehicle

2017: Cameron Clarke receive a special national Leasing Broker Federation ‘Spirit of Broking’ award

2019: Cameron Clarke celebrates its 25th year

As a Premier Partner of Arval (BNP Paribas Group), a global leader in full-service vehicle leasing Cameron Clarke is able to offer Arval Total Care (ATC) to all of its business and personal customers.

Tony says “ATC is an innovative product which offers a package of services providing an insured leased vehicle effectively fixing costs for up to 60 months and offers great flexibility, such as automatically including the driver’s spouse or partner and immediate family members - parents, siblings and children - providing they meet the required criteria.”

The company’s business customer base ranges from large scale PLCs to partnerships and sole traders with 80 per cent located in the North West. Steven adds: “Our customers include barristers, sports personalities, plumbers, doctors, IT whizz kids, accountants and councils.

Partnered by top leasing companies in the UK, accredited by the BVRLA and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, the business has now delivered more than 25,000 cars since 1994.

Over the past 25 years the business has also built up a strong network of motor dealers and developed relationships with manufacturers, enabling Cameron Clarke to deliver bulk fleet offers to all its customers.

And what of the future? Tony says: “Expansion is very much on the cards. We’re planning to open another office and we’re currently working hard to create a new website which we’ll be launching later in the year.

That investment is vital if Cameron Clarke is to remain in pole position in its industry, Tony explains.

Steven adds: “Online is becoming increasingly important especially when it comes to personal leasing and it is vital that we remain at the forefront of the changes we’re seeing in this sector. The pace of change is not going to slow down.”

  • To read this feature in full and access further Lancashire business news, advice and analysis subscribe to Lancashire Business View magazine or join the LBV Hub from just £2.50 per month. Click here to subscribe now.