On a cooler than usual Thursday in June 1972, with T-Rex at number one in the charts and Queen Elizabeth II celebrating 20 years on the throne, Ancaster Group became one of the earliest dealers of Datsun, the latest entry to the British car market.
Just eight years later, as bell bottoms made way for bright Lycra, sequins and shoulder pads, Ancaster was the largest Datsun dealer with dealerships in Bromley, Caterham, Penge, South Croydon, Surbiton and Thornton Heath.
As the Datsun Bluebird, Cherry and Skyline grew in popularity, Ancaster Group founder Harold Cole set up the first Datsun Dealers’ Association which continues today as the Nissan Dealer Association.
We are proud that our managing directors have continued to chair the UK arm until 2019, moving to chair the European Association until the present day.
In 1984, all of our Datsun dealerships were rebranded to Nissan and shortly afterwards, under Nissan Motor GB, the Nissan Sunderland plant was opened, a ground-breaking moment for the brand and the first stone in paving the way to becoming the largest car manufacturer in the UK.
Over the years, Ancaster Group has supported the Nissan focus on expansion and innovation demonstrated in the brand’s most popular models such as Qashqai, Juke, Micra and LEAF.
The LEAF was a significant milestone for the brand as it was their first fully electric car on the market and due to the increased Interest and demand for electric vehicles, Nissan launched the model in 2011.
With the 100 per cent electric all-new Nissan ARIYA soon to hit UK roads, the brand is now at the forefront of the electric car revolution once again and Ancaster Group are proud to bring the Auto Express 2022 Car of the Year to their customers this summer.
The latest dealership for the group had a complete renovation before launch and boasts the latest Nissan branding, a spacious showroom and large workshop using all the latest diagnostic equipment.
Stephen Wood, Managing Director at Ancaster, said: “This is a very proud moment for Ancaster and we are delighted that both Nissan and Ancaster have grown so successfully together over the years.
“This relationship which was started by Harold Cole in 1972 and then continued by his son Robert, has ensured Ancaster are synonymous with Nissan and now, as the current Managing Director, I am confident that this partnership, which now covers London, Berkshire and Surrey, will flourish in the years to come.”
Andrew Humberstone, Managing Director of Nissan Motor GB, said: “We truly value our relationship with dealer partners such as Ancaster and we congratulate the company on its 50-year association with Nissan.
‘‘I was delighted to join the Ancaster team in West London earlier this year to celebrate the opening of their seventh Nissan dealership. The fact that they are expanding with us, and investing in our brand, is great news for us both.
‘‘With the launch of the all-new ARIYA, Qashqai e-POWER and Juke Hybrid, plus more new models arriving later in the year, there’s certainly plenty to be positive about!
‘’I send my very best wishes to everyone at our Ancaster dealerships and I look forward to many more years of co-operation and success.”
So with the Nissan ARIYA due to arrive soon, next-generation Juke Hybrid available to order now with delivery this summer, and Qashqai e-POWER and All-New Nissan X-Trail coming in the autumn, it is just as exciting today as it was 50 years ago with the Nissan brand!