SLM Group History - Past & Present

St. Leonards Motor Group is a family run business, which was founded in 1959 by father and son team Graham and Brian Wakeford, and has been trading ever since from across East Sussex, Kent and most recently East Anglia.


SLM Timeline


Brian and Graham Wakeford purchased a small garage, On The Green, St Leonards-on-Sea in 1958.

1959 - 1960

On 1st January 1959, St Leonards Motors opened for business for the very first time.
In 1960, Brian and Graham were joined by John, Brian's brother who was a retired pilot and aircraft engineer. That same year the business became St Leonards Motors Ltd under the control of the Wakeford family, who still own the company today.

1970 - 1973

Negotiations began with British Rail for the purchase of the land of West Marina.
The main Fiat garage opened. SLM also ran petrols stations at the original site On The Green along with others at Silverhill, Queens Road, Red Lake and Sidley in Bexhill.


Sidley Motors in London Road, Bexhill was purchased and operated as a Fiat dealership until 1983 when it became a full Toyota operation.


The head office relocated to Churchwood Drive. At the same time it split off its bodyshop which moved to Brunel Road in 1989.

1994 - 1995

Nissan dealership opened alongside the Fiat site, and in 1995 SLM opened a Vauxhall site on Sedlescombe Road North.


Having outgrown their Bexhill site, the company moved its Toyota business into the same location as the Vauxhall site, and soon after acquired a second Toyota site in Uckfield.

2011 - 2013

SLM opened their first dealership in Tunbridge Wells, with a full Vauxhall dealership.
In 2013, SLM introduced a dedicated used car site in Church Wood Drive, St Leonards, and Sussex Used Cars opened its doors for business in 2013.


SLM Group expanded and purchased Dingles Motor Group based in East Anglia, and now operated sites in East Sussex, Kent and East Anglia.


SLM Group are a leading family owned Franchise Motor Dealer group with dealerships based East Sussex and Kent, recently SLM have expanded and have purchased dealerships in East Anglia.