Orange LDV – a hobby and a profession
“If you like cars, a lot of the time you really like cars and I've just always been a car person,” says David McAlpine of Orange LDV on how he got into the business of selling cars.
“So, I just wanted to be around cars and I enjoy it. It’s my hobby as well as my profession.”
David got into selling cars at a young age and spent a decade working at a number of local dealerships. But three-and-a-half years ago he and friend Ben Sainsbury decided to step out on their own, setting up their own used car dealership under the name Orange Wholesale Automotive.
“It is something we’d talked about. Ben's old man had the dealership in Dubbo and then we started working for Ben's brother who had the dealership around the corner here and I guess it's the next progression,” said David.
“We started doing this when we were 18 and 19, but then you get to a stage when you decide it's now or never. We had to have a go and see what happens otherwise we’d be sitting around the pub telling each other how smart we could have been.”
Finding a suitable location in Cameron Place, David and Ben got to work.
“It started out with just me and Ben, the two of us,” said David. “We were doing the cleaning, the mechanical and whatever we could ourselves, but soon that was no longer feasible.”
With business building Ben and David took on more staff, but then their quickly growing parts and service department required even more staff.
“We had to add admin staff and we've got an apprentice going through a training program… there's actually now seven of us here now, so that's really developed,” said David. “We’ve got a qualified mechanic and we actually have a new staff member starting today who is going to look after parts and service — all local people and people that we have worked with previously.”
Orange Wholesale Automotive was built largely on second-hand car sales and today it remains a significant part of their business.
But twelve months ago, David and Ben became the Orange Dealer for LDV, a vehicle brand well known in Europe and part of SAIC (Shanghai Automobile and Industrial Corporation), the largest automotive manufacturer in China.
“We had the opportunity to take on LDV and we've gone from strength to strength with the brand. We've done almost 150 of them out of here in the last 12 months,” said David, who sees a bright future ahead for their young business.
“There is a big future. If LDV continue their current growth, there's a huge future for us to grow again.”