Blackpool Pleasure Beach, 1984, I am four years old, my first experience at the wheel.
The vehicle in question was a coin-operated electric children’s car. However, that was enough for me; I was in love with driving and smitten with anything on four wheels.
Legend has it I was already following the racing line on that oval circuit.
As a child, my passion was always motor vehicles. I would bore anyone who would listen about cars and loved to soak up as much information as I could.
By the age of five, I could name just about every car I saw on the road and if I couldn’t, then I would the next time.
During my teens, the interest grew exponentially and I would read car magazines cover to cover (and still do) as often as pocket money would allow.
Trips to the Birmingham Motor Show with my parents and to the 1996 British Grand Prix at Silverstone are prominent in my memory to this day.
Later in life, I decided to move to the North East of England to attend university. I obtained a degree in English and graduated in May 2001.
I needed a job. I needed a job quickly.
I needed a car. I needed a car quickly.
Car sales, that will do nicely. There was nothing I would have been more passionate about and the allure of a gleaming new company car was the icing on the cake.
I picked up the Yellow Pages (sounds antiquated doesn’t it?) and called around five main dealerships.
Nobody was hiring.
I somehow managed to talk my way into three interviews for jobs that were not actually available at Honda, Volvo and Vauxhall.
The first was at Springfield Honda. The interview must have gone well as I was offered a job on the spot and started the next day, respectfully cancelling the other two appointments.
“And We’re Off,” I thoroughly enjoyed selling brand new Honda products. Some great cars were in the stable at that time: The NSX, The Accord Type R, Civic Type R, Integra Type R and the S2000.
I quickly realised this was the industry for me and wanted more.
I fought for promotion wherever I could and was promoted through the ranks rapidly.
In 2004, Springfield Honda opened their brand new flagship facility on the prestigious Scotswood Road in Newcastle. It needed a General Sales Manager.
Maybe this was a step too far, but I wanted that job. At this time I was only 25 years old and told I was too young for the role.
Persistence and passion won out, and I got the job.
I absolutely loved it; the surroundings, my colleagues, the responsibility and the pressure of performing for both Springfield and a Global brand.
However, times and priorities change.
In 2008, My then-fiancée, now wife and I decided we would like to return back to our hometown, where we had a support network of family so we could start one of our own.
Rather than work for somebody else, an associate and I started our own dealership.
This business was built from the ground up in a run-down facility needing total renovation. Fast forward ten years and the business operated from a superb and expanding facility, selling sports cars, supercars, prestige cars - and more recently family cars - to clients all over the country.
The experience I have obtained over this last decade is priceless. This experience coupled with a strong work ethic, a passion for quality and above all else a focus on integrity; helps me to be the ideal independent dealer for you to work with.
For many years I have thought about starting a family business. If nothing else I might actually get to see my wife! In 2018 that dream came true, and Matt Johnson Prestige was born.
I remember the first deal so clearly; an Audi R8 Spyder. Since then, we have sold almost 2,000 cars to customers old and new and have had so much fun along the way!
We now have our son William and daughter Francesca, who I would love to think will come into the business in the coming years.
I hope I can help many more clients into the car of their dreams. I think you will find my enthusiasm and knowledge infectious, whilst my appetite for doing business is unwavering.
Looking forward to talking and getting something exciting on your driveway!