Farmer & Carlisle was formed from a partnership that started back in 1969. Mike Farmer and John Carlisle both worked at Beardall Motors in Loughborough, that is where they both met. Mike Farmer was the Sales Manager and John Carlisle was a Sales Executive.
John Carlisle and Mike Farmer started up in business in 1973 selling quality used cars from a site on Clarence Street in Loughborough. The business quickly grew and prospered and developed a great reputation for selling quality used cars at a reasonable price and also for giving fantastic customer care.
In 1974 Farmer & Carlisle purchased a larger site on Pinfold Gate in Loughborough to cope with the level of demand they were generating and also to expand all parts of the business including servicing and repair.
In 1975 John & Mike decided to take the business to the next level and took on the Toyota Franchise. This Japanese marque was relatively new to the UK at the time, but Toyota's ethos was what attracted John & Mike to the brand as it mirrored their own way of doing business – building a quality product at a great price and most importantly of all putting their customers at the heart of everything they do!
John Carlisle sold his first Toyota on the 1st June 1975, it was a mustard yellow Toyota 1000 and it was sold for £1,095; it had a radio and heated rear window as standard equipment – luxuries in 1975! . (If you would like to see an identical example of the car visit our Loughborough showroom as we have one on display – it certainly shows how far modern cars have come).
Farmer & Carlisle Toyota thrived and within several years expanded further to incorporate a Valeting Shop (on Clarence street) and a Body Shop (on Duke Street).
By the late 1980’s Farmer & Carlisle had completely outgrown the Pinfold Gate site and it was becoming obvious that due to the increased level of Sales and After Sales work we needed to take the business to the next level.
In 1990 Farmer & Carlisle wanted to move into the heart of Loughborough. John invested along with the local council finances for the development of the road infrastructure for the Loughborough industrial estate. It was this development that led Farmer & Carlisle to build purpose-built 2-acre premises on Belton Road. These new premises enabled us to bring all the departments together under one roof - Sales, Service, Parts, Body Shop, & Valeting. This new dealership was the Flagship dealership for the Toyota brand in the UK and showed that Farmer & Carlisle could now move forward and realise their ambitions for the brand.
In 1991 Farmer & Carlisle’s efforts for the way they had built and developed their Parts department were recognised by Toyota GB and as a result, they were awarded the ‘Best Parts Department – 1991’.
Only a few years later in 1994, Farmer & Carlisle built a satellite dealership in Melton Mowbray to supply to Melton Mowbray and the surrounding areas.
When it came to ‘kudos’ he wanted his customers to have it all by organising night time handovers so that his customers really were the first customers in the county to drive the new registration cars.
John has been known to change into his overalls and get into the workshop to change parts on cars to speed up the process and exceed customer expectations. It was this year that Toyota GB awarded Farmer & Carlisle ‘The customer satisfaction award – 1994’.
Business went from strength to strength and as we sold more and more Toyotas it wasn’t long before we needed to expand again, therefore in 1996 Farmer & Carlisle West Bridgford was opened to supply south Nottinghamshire.
In 2000 after a long successful career in the motor trade Mike Farmer decided to retire. Because of his decision, John Carlisle bought the ‘Farmer’ part of the business and owned it fully. John decided to keep the name ‘Farmer & Carlisle Toyota’ because it was a well-known and respected brand within Loughborough.
The next opportunity for Farmer & Carlisle came in 2003 when Toyota changed the areas of representation for all of the franchisees in the UK. This meant that we were given the opportunity to increase our territory and represent Toyota for the whole of Leicestershire, as a part of this agreement we needed to build a new dealership in Leicester but also needed to sell Farmer & Carlisle West Bridgford. These fantastic opportunities come very rarely and as one of the chosen trusted partners of Toyota, we opened Farmer & Carlisle Leicester on Welford Road in 2003.
We operated out of an old car showroom and used car display for a couple of years until in 2006 we could properly develop the site into what we have here today a purpose-built £4 Million dealership, which has Sales, Fleet Sales, Servicing & Parts all under one roof.
John takes a lot of pride in his business and the community which he serves. He humbly serves and treats everyone that walks through his doors like a member of his own family!
In 2015 Farmer & Carlisle celebrated their 40th Birthday - 40 years of selling new Toyotas. This makes us one of the longest-serving Toyota dealerships in the country! During the 40 years, there is one thing that has not changed and that is that our customers are our most important asset!
2016 so far has been a very busy year for us. We have re-launched the brand new Hilux, Proace, and Prius. These models have been totally rejuvenated with new technology inside and out! And we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the brand new C-HR crossover. With this new vehicle, we will be entering a brand new segment, this is our opportunity to offer you (our customers) even more choice within the Toyota range.
We have also been awarded by Toyota GB a new accolade - Toyota LCV Specialists for Leicestershire – we’re one of only 26 dealers in the country to achieve this level of accreditation and responsibility from Toyota GB. Soon we will have a dedicated commercial display of the vast arrange of commercial vehicles available from Pickups to vans both large and small and larger, people carriers, and airport vehicles to name but a few.
With so many changes and new models, we have also expanded our team (the Farmer & Carlisle family) to help us keep up with the level of customer service that you have become accustomed to.
We have also taken part in lots of community and charity events, including Alex Wish Golf Day, Memphis Garden Party, and Macmillan Coffee Morning. We have also been working closely with Rolleston School on their big cook little cook project. Below are some pictures of our events.
We celebrated the arrival of the brand new iconic C-HR Hybrid. This is the 8th Hybrid to join our range. We are passionate about Hybrid technology and the future of looking after the environment, saving customers money, and giving customers a pleasurable drive...all through our Hybrid technology. We are the manufacturer with the most Hybrid vehicles. Our vision is clear for the near and far future that we will continue to work on and develop our Hybrid technology,
The changes and announcements in 2017 with regards to diesel vehicles meant that 2017 was a busy year with lots of customers changing over to Hybrid models. We saw lots of existing customers (which we always enjoy) and lots of brand new customers that were an absolute pleasure to deal with.
In 2017 we also achieved outstanding results in our Mystery Shop Programme, where we were No.2 in the whole country for the excellent way that we looked after our customers.
Wow! 2018 what a busy year. In 2018 Toyota electrified vehicle sales passed the 1.5 million mark, an achievement we’re very proud of.
Locally we got involved and got our hands dirty with the community.
We supported national charitable events such as World MS day, Macmillan Coffee Morning, and Christmas Jumper day and our special Farmer & Carlisle bears were donated to the Mayor's office and the charity SANDS
Our fleet team swapped the warmth and comforts of the dealership to go and support Hope against cancer event ‘Challenge the Wild’. The team took part in various outdoor activities including a bush tucker trial. They also went to show off our new Corolla at the prestigious Chamber of Commerce Awards.
Towards the end of the year our staff members won ‘Beyond Excellence’ Awards from Toyota UK.
It was a really busy year, but we really enjoyed it!
Bring on 2019 where we launch our iconic models!
2019 Was all about the model range! We welcomed back to the range some iconic models, BUT, hybrid updated versions with all the bells and whistles. Welcome back Corolla, Camry, and Supra! We have missed you. We thoroughly enjoyed our car launches and seeing you all there. We loved getting the cars out and about at the Leicester Mercury Motor show and Sutton Bonington show and hearing your thoughts about them and seeing your appreciation for the heritage that comes with these models.
We launched our new website.
And to end the year Judge Service awarded us with 2 (1 for Leicester and 1 for Loughborough), 100% certificates – 100% of surveyed customers between 1st January and 31st December 2019 would recommend us to family and friends – thank you to our loyal customers! Thank you for bringing all generations of your family to buy their cars from us.
Has been the most challenging year yet!
We came back fresh from the Christmas and new year break…we had so many hopes and plans for 2020 with our new products and new website.
Soon we settled in and organised a big sale event to celebrate the new ’20 number plate in March…but lockdown happened, we announced a full closure on the 24th March 2020. It was a time of uncertainty. We sent all of our staff home and locked our showroom doors. We watched the news daily to keep up to date with what was going on around the world and locally. We worked on sending communications to our customers to make sure they were informed of what was happening from a Toyota perspective.
The business had to adapt quickly. We had a total shift to online enquiries and online conversations with customers. The motor industry as we knew it was changing. We now could not offer test drives or invite customers into the showroom. We gave our sales teams more communications channels including online chat.
Eventually, 5th June 2020 we were given the green light to open our service departments. Our teams worked tirelessly to implement the new rules and regulations around covid. We ordered and fitted screens, removed seating areas to create space for social distancing, and did a deep clean of the whole dealership to make sure it was clean and safe for everyone. We notified customers that we were now able to service and MOT their vehicles. We were thankful during this time that the DVLA issues MOT extensions to all vehicles.
1st June 2020 we were authorized to open the Sales Departments. Again, we totally adapted the showroom in preparation for this. There were less cars in the showroom. We also moved our sales team out of the sales office and dotted them around the showroom to create plenty of social distancing space for everyone.
To help everyone feel more comfortable we created virtual tours of both showroom so that customers could view them from the comfort of their own homes.
The promise of being open was short-lived, on 30th June 2020 we (Leicester) went into a localised lockdown, re-opening again on the 6th July 2020.
In July 2020 Toyota launched their new company logo and eagerly awaited new 2020 Yaris.
In August 2020 we became an official Toyota GR centre. We were one of the 1st centres in the UK to display the brand new Yaris GR – and boy was it a busy 2 days! Enthusiasts and customers came from far and wide to see this sporty little number. We loved the attention this little fire crack received. We now have the whole GR range onsite (Leicester only): GR Yaris, GR Corolla, GR C-HR and GR Supra.
We carried on evolving by adding more ways for you to video call us, we offered WhatsApp calls Teams, Zoom and Duo!
We rounded off the year by loaning Santa our Hilux for his Santa Sleigh trips around the city!
What a year it was, in and out of lockdown! But, we evolved as a business and we are ever thankful for our loyal customers that stuck by us and supported us all the way through! Thank you.
We came back with a bang and our newest van – we launched the Proace City! A functional, versatile and accessible new city van!
In January we had another lockdown where we were only allowed to be digitally open and reopened again fully on the 12th April – it felt like such a long time to be away from the dealership but again with the support of our staff, customers and suppliers we got through it.
We have some amazing members of staff. Rob Ramsay and Dean Henson from Loughborough Parts department ran 100 miles (each) for Alzheimer’s Society. They raised an amazing £825.
In April Jonathan Carlisle was promoted to Operations Director, over-seeing the Operating Standard’s of the business.