On Brexit and its effects on the importation of luxury cars such as Ferraris and Lamborghinis, Choo said the manufacturers – and his own company – have all been well prepared with capable clearing agents standing by. “We were ready for trouble,” he said. “We’ve all read the horror stories, but so far we’re not experiencing many hiccups.”
HR Owen’s planned new Hatfield complex, its biggest dealership so far, will bring the firm’s UK luxury dealership portfolio to 17. It currently sells cars from 10 different brands: Aston Martin, BAC, Bentley, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Puritalia, Rimac and Rolls-Royce.
The buildings were designed by architects at Luton-based consultancy Louis de Soissons, which doubtless won admirers in 2018 when it completed a sensitive refurbishment of the Jack Barclay Bentley showroom in Mayfair, occupied continuously since 1927. The Hatfield building will be so modern and glassy, with separate wings for different marques, that Choo has christened it the Starship Enterprise.
Apart from the independent dealers and their associated service centres, HR Owen Hatfield will also offer storage for up to 500 customer cars over three floors. The firm has a large body of long-standing international clients; Choo deals with many personally, and he wants to cater better for their needs when they arrive at Heathrow airport requiring ready access to the cars that they keep here.
“Global clients love London,” said Choo, briskly dismissing recent pessimistic tabloid talk. “We have lots of customers abroad. Those from the Far East love it because they believe the UK is a very stable country and they can speak English here. Russians love it because they see it as a safe haven. Americans have always loved London. They ring me and say they can’t wait to get back here, so we want to give them what they will enjoy: space, greenery, fresh air, a nice view and good service. That’s the most important part of all.”