Leslies Motors is a highly successful family run business that was founded in 1948 and was based in Sandown, Isle of Wight. The business has gone from strength to strength in the hands of 3 generations of the Vanassche family.
Leslies has seen many motor vehicle franchises over the years, some coming full circle (Hyundai was a member of the Leslies group many years ago, and returned in 2015 when Wight Motors became a member of the Leslies family). Leslie’s has also been based in many locations around the Island over the years, but the current location of Northwood Garage (Northwood Kia and Mazda) was first moved into 38 years ago!
In the early 90’s Graham Vanassche took over the day to day running of the business from his father, and founder, Leslie Vanassche. This was roughly the same time that Hale Common and Suzuki became part of the family. Kia moved to Somerton in 2008 until 2011 when it moved up to its current site, Northwood Garage. A purpose built showroom for Honda was then built in Somerton which is now known as Northwood Honda.
Last year, Leslies Motors acquired ownership of Wight Motors in Sandown from the Butler family. Wight Motors has a very rich history of its own, founded 90 years ago, the business has also gone from strength to strength. In May 1975, Wight Motors opened a new premises on College Close in Sandown and the official opening was attended by Miss United Kingdom and former Miss World, Helen Morgan, who greeted visitors. The showroom at the Sandown site was further extended in 1979 and Roy and Barbara Butler took over in the early 1990s. In 2006, Wight Motors left Ryde altogether and moved into a brand new showroom in Sandown, which is where it still is to this day, with its 2 successful franchises, Toyota and Hyundai.
There are some members of the Leslies team who have been part of the family for a very long time. Keith Ashdown at Hale Common Suzuki has seen 37 years of Leslies history being made, and remains one of the longest serving employees in the company. Another member of the team who has been with Leslies for over 30 years is Brian Sampson, who manages the Compass Cars site in Newport Industrial Estate. Compass Cars became part of the group in the early 2000’s and is a very popular Used Car garage.