Mangoletsi marks 100 years of Alfa Romeo
This year the Italian car giant marks its 100th birthday and, as the UK’s longest-established and largest Alfa dealership, Mangoletsi will be celebrating more than most.
The dealership was born in 1967 when the Mangoletsi family – who used to run a showroom and garage specializing in fine tuning Army tanks during the Second World War – bought the plot of land on which the dealership now stands.
Within a year the family sold its operation to business partners Alan Edge and Brian Moffat who ran a boat building business. After trials with a range of different franchise options, including Ferrari and Mercedes, the pair opted to become an Alfa Romeo dealer – and helped launch the then little known Italian brand across the UK.
Since then Mangoletsi has positioned itself as one of the places to go in the north for anyone wanting to invest in a car with a touch of Italian style. Current managing director Fraser Hudson took over at the dealership in 1985 at the age of just 20.
He has driven the business forward into the 21st Century with a £500,000 makeover of the site in 2008 which transformed the building and used car display, increased the size of the showrooms and introduced new features such as an internet café bar, plasma screens showing the history of Alfa Romeo and wireless internet access for business users.
“The dealership has a great history and, as the longest established Alfa dealership in the UK, we have an unrivalled knowledge of the brand and this translates well when we service and sell other prestige Italian brands such as Maserati, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Bentley and Porsche” said Fraser.
“That’s why the people who work for us are so passionate about their jobs. Every one of them could give you a breakdown of Alfa’s 100-year history and their favourite cars throughout that time.
“That enthusiasm then rubs off on our customers – they all seem to fall in love with their cars as we do ours.” Among those members of staff was Roy Jefferies who has worked for Mangoletsi for 42 years and Ken Buckley the service and parts manager for 40 years.
For Roy it was his love for the Alfa brand that kept him at the dealership for so long – an idea that is echoed by his colleagues. “When I first started working for Mangoletsi we were selling cars in pounds, shillings and pence,” And it is not just the staff that find the showroom a home from home. Customers travel from across the country to Cheshire because they will only buy cars from Mangoletsi.
One man even makes a regular journey from Ireland to get his car serviced at the showroom. “Anyone who works for Alfa has to love the brand. You can go and work in a Ford garage and sell hundreds of cars, but people who really love cars come and work here because they get to work with Alfas in the wonderful environment that is Mangoletsi,” said Craig Aspin.
“Being fan of Alfa Romeo is a lot like being a football fan. Once you’ve fallen in love with them it’s impossible to switch teams.”