SCOTTISH company TOM Vehicle Rental has made a major move into the English market place with the opening of a depot at Trafford Park in Manchester.

Director James Rafferty, son of company founder Jim, also highlighted hopes of moving further south with the opening of vehicle rental sites in or around Birmingham and London within the next two years.

TOM revealed it had concluded deals to supply a total of 350 vans to two big corporate customers in north-west England from its 1.5-acre depot in Manchester, the opening of which will create 10 jobs initially.

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James Rafferty, a corporate lawyer, said: "This is an exciting time for the company, and we see massive potential to compete for more business in England. The Manchester site represents an excellent start-point for this goal."

He added: "TOM is already a national provider of vehicle rental and fleet management. Increasing the spread of our own depots will deliver greater efficiencies and economic benefit to our customers and our own business and, with this in mind, we are hopeful of adding sites in the Birmingham and London areas in the next two years."

TOM describes itself as "Scotland's leading vehicle rental company".

It has about 350 staff, including around 75 apprentices, a fleet of 6000 vehicles, and sites at Airdrie in North Lanarkshire, at Broxburn in West Lothian, Ayr, Aberdeen and Inverness.

The company, based in Airdrie, plans to take on further apprentices.

The opening of the Manchester depot is TOM's latest move along the expansion trail.

It announced last September it was moving into Aberdeen with the acquisition of the commercial vehicle division of John R Weir from car dealership giant Arnold Clark, in what was believed to be a near-£3 million deal.

This led to the addition to the TOM business of Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle sites in Aberdeen and Inverness. And the company has recently launched "TOMbuyanyvan", for customers looking to cash in on unwanted vehicles.

Unveiling its Manchester plans, TOM also highlighted an £8m programme to renew its current fleet.

TOM Vehicle Rental last September unveiled a 41.1% hike in pre-tax profit from £1.42 million to more than £2m in the year to March 2012, as turnover jumped from £27.3m to £38.4m.

Caledonian Alloys co-founder Hugh Stewart came on board as an investor in TOM, and chairman of the Airdrie-based company, in March 2010.

TOM's apprentices, who are training as light and heavy goods vehicle mechanics, painters and panel-beaters, are now being rotated around the firm's depots throughout Scotland. This helps TOM overcome strong competition in Aberdeen from the oil and gas industry in recruiting skilled people.