Simon Hutchinson

Simon Hutchinson

Comline has taken on a new Marketing and Communications Manager to help with its plan to reach a turnover target of £50 million over the next three years.

Simon Hutchinson has twenty years of service under his belt from ADL/Blue Print, so this is only the 39-year-old’s second aftermarket job.

“When I joined ADL it was a very small company with 26 staff and turnover of around £6 million, so I’ve seen the growth of a company from small acorns into one of the leading brands.

“I started as trainee technical adviser, working in the call centre, and worked my way up over the years to become Sales and Marketing Director. I wasn’t afraid to start at the bottom and get my hands dirty.”

“Simon’s target is to dramatically lift our profile,” says Comline Director Malcolm Rosher. “We’ve come a long way in the past five years, but we’re still unknown by a lot of people which, I admit, has become a bit of a frustration.

“Perhaps some of the people who have been around in the industry for a while, and that are used to the older brands, don’t quite take us as seriously as they could or should.”

As well as lifting profile, there’s also the job of increasing turnover. Comline is due to turn £32 million in its last financial year and has the immediate target to get to £50 million.

Friction and filters will continue to play a major part in this growth, with braking contributing around 60 percent to the turnover, but there’s also the recently launched oil range as well as steering and suspension components to add into the mix.

Export also accounts for 60 percent of Comline’s business, but ultimately this will account for a greater proportion.

“The journey Comline is about to embark on is the journey I’ve just been on,” explains Hutchinson. “I’m here to help avoid some pitfalls and I come here with eyes wide open.”

Neither expect the UK economy to lift from where it is today which, while it is putting a lot of pressure on price, isn’t necessarily a problem for Comline says Rosher: “A couple of years ago an Audi driver would have chucked his credit card down and said ‘sorted’. These days the price comes as a shock. We have become a nation of hagglers.”

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- who has written 1202 posts on CAT Magazine.

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