Competition is definitely good for the public – but the sheer size of the proposal is a matter for concern.
That’s the view of car dealer David Mylchreest on the plans for a new £14.5 million car showroom off Cooil Road in Braddan.
Mr Mylchreest, along with Ocean Ford and Eurocars, was one of five objectors to the planning application by Channel Islands-based Jacksons for the multi-franchise dealership.
But Mr Mylchreest said he seriously questions the applicants’ claims of a £1 million per week turnover, which he feels is optimistic given the size and population of the Isle of Man.
‘The Manx motor trade is just not big enough to give a return on a £14,5 million investment,’ he said. ‘I find it very hard to believe it could stack up. I have been in the business for over 40 years and I find the whole thing just amazing, the sheer size of it.’
The new showroom is likely to offer makes currently not available new in the island but, again, not all of these are likely to find a market, according to Mr Mylchreest.
‘Audi is an excellent brand but there are other makes, such as Volvo, which we tried a few years ago and found were simply not viable here in the island,’ he said.
‘I expect the government is attracted by the promise of jobs and economic growth but I don’t think that is guaranteed because business may simply transfer from existing dealerships. If they collapse, choice is lost.
‘Annual sales of new cars across all of the island dealerships to retail customers are under 1,000.’
The 10-acre site received planning permission on December 17, just over one month from its application date on November 10. The closing date for objections to the plans is January 7.
‘I’ve spoken to other dealers and we are definitely all singing from the same hymn sheet on this,’ he said.