Welcome to Mantles Group Ltd
Part of Grainger Motor Group
Family run. Since day one.
Mantles is family run business with over a 100 year history of trading in Hertfordshire.
Established in 1920 and family run for three generations of the Mantle family.
We recognise that our staff and customers are the lifeblood of our business. Our aim is to deliver an exceptional customer experience, through our highly trained competent staff, who care about our customers for life.
In 2022 brothers Neal & Harry Grainger, formed Grainger Motor Group and in January 2023 acquired Mantles Group Ltd from John Mantle. Between them the Grainger brothers have worked in a Hertfordshire based family run dealer group for over 40 years. A key factor for Mr Mantle selling to the Grainger's was that the company should continue as a family run business.
We are proud to represent the Kia brand in Royston and have won a number of awards over the years, most recently in January 2024 Mantles
Royston was awarded 2
nd place in the National Kia Dealer Excellence
awards, winning a platinum dealer award for customer service.
In December 2023 Mantles were pleased to announce the acquisition of the dealership next door to our Kia site; EMG Used car centre Old North Road, Royston which includes Vauxhall authorised repair and an Esso fuel station.
The acquisition saw the birth of Mantles Used Cars where we will continue to offer quality Used Cars, Vauxhall and all makes servicing and MOT’s.
Ben Mantle, founder of the company, came down to Biggleswade from Northumberland in 1920. He had been recruited by John Maythorn to set up, equip and manage a repair section of Maythorn & Son Limited, the well known vehicle body manufacturer, located in Biggleswade. Following a change of mind, Maythorn decided to help Ben to set up his own business and Mantles Garage was incorporated. Ben was a fully qualified electrical engineer as well as being an expert in mechanical matters. He had worked with Herbert Austin building Wolesley cars for the ‘Wolesley Machine and Sheep Shearing Company’. He later knew William Morris who came and opened the ‘new’ Mantles Garage in Biggleswade in 1933.
Ian Mantle took over running the business after the Second World War, during which time the Biggleswade premises had been requisitioned for carrying out repairs to aircraft parts. A motor vehicle engineer, entrepreneur and motor sports enthusiast, his achievements ranged from the world of caravans to rally cars. Ian became a leading influence in the development of touring caravans from the early 1950′s. A keen motor sports enthusiast, he had considerable success as a rally driver in the diminutive and distinctive Berkeley fibreglass sports car, winning many trophies.
Caravan World Record holder & Berkley Sports Cars
A pioneering spirit, he was involved in developing caravan stability in conjunction with Sprite Caravans and in 1966 he established a world towing endurance record at Monza, Italy. On that occasion, driving a Ford Zodiac, he towed a Sprite Major 16ft caravan around the Monza track for 24 hours at an average speed of more than 70 mph, a feat which got him in the Guinness Book of Records. He won the British Caravan Road Rally – in those days a taxing event including some hair-raising forest sections – four times in the 1970’s.In the mid 1950’s he helped to develop and publicise the Berkley, a sporting microcar powered by an air-cooled motorcycle engine. This was designed by Lawrie Bond at Charles Panter’s Berkeley Coachwork’s, a large caravan manufacturer whose factory was also in Biggleswade. With its fibreglass monocoque construction the Berkeley was driven at Goodwood by Stirling Moss in September 1956. At one point Ian was leading the International Tulip Rally in the Netherlands when his Berkeley’s engine expired.
Ian was very competitive and enjoyed Autotesting, a highly accessible form of rally-style precision car control testing and he won the BTRDA Flather Star Autotest Championship in 1955. He then went on to captain the England team in the Ken Wharton Memorial Five Nations Championship which was televised on BBC’s Grandstand in the 1960’s.
A member of the National Caravan Council for more than 40 years from the mid 1990’s, Ian was also chairman of the organising committee of the Caravan & Camping Exhibition at Earls Court from 1986 to 1991. A well known local figure in Biggleswade, he served its Magistrates Court for a quarter of a century, for five years of which he was chairman of the bench. In retirement in Cambridge he enjoyed gardening, particularly his famous lawn which was said to be the envy of many a Cambridge college groundsman!
Ian Mantle, previously Chairman of Mantles Group, died on 2 August 2010 aged 90 years.
During this time an MG Rover implant business was set up within the British Aerospace plant at Stevenage and run successfully for a number of years. With a past history of close involvement with Austin, Morris and MG, the company enjoyed a strong relationship with MG Rover, having representation at 4 separate locations. Following in his father’s footsteps, John became involved with the MG Rover Franchise Board and took on the Chairman role just before the decision made by BMW in 2000 to sell off the company to the infamous Phoenix Four consortium. Subsequently, he became heavily involved working with this manufacturer over the ensuing 5 years to try and find a viable future plan. Sadly, the demise of MG Rover in 2005 was a major blow to Mantles, resulting in a downsizing of the business.
Fortunately, the decision had already been taken a few years earlier to take on the Ford, Mitsubishi and Kia franchises. In recent years John has managed the business back into healthy profitability with the support of an established and loyal team. The more recent franchise partners have all contributed towards further growth in turnover and, as the company approaches its 100th birthday John can look with some satisfaction at what has been achieved and enjoy seeing everyone in the team sharing in the company’s success.
In 2016/17 Mantles Kia (Royston) was awarded the accolade of UK Dealer of the Year.
This was also followed by the covetous Kia Customer Experience Award, which is only awarded to the top 10% of the Kia network each year, in 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2023.
The above success was despite having a catastrophic fire at the end of 2017, whilst attempting to carry out a major showroom extension. The fire completely destroyed the dealership and led to the building of a brand-new state-of-the-art facility that opened its doors to the public in January 2019. The new Royston dealership boasts even better facilities for both staff and customers.