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He went from an apprentice mechanic in the UK to a successful entrepreneur in Australia


Before Rob Chaloner became the Managing Director of stratton, one of Australia’s leading vehicle finance providers, he started out in the UK as an apprentice mechanic at just 18 years of age.

“At the time, it was the best job around,” he told Anthill.

The day Rob became qualified, he packed up his tool box and went on to lecture in motor vehicle engineering, a subject he had developed quite a passion for.

One of his first ventures was a chauffeured limousine business that went on to expand to helicopters and jets. He ran the business for eight years before he sold it and moved to Australia, when he was just under 30 years of age, to work in auto retail.

Turning an interest into a business

Rob spent a year working in the auto industry selling Mercedes Benz and Land Rovers before he developed a keen interest in finance. “Once I realised the potential in finance, I stuck with it.”

“I started stratton because I didn’t want to work six to seven days a week anymore. I wanted to create a fantastically different culture to a dealership, but where I could still do the job I enjoyed,” Rob revealed to Anthill about the motivation behind the business he founded more than 16 years ago.

stratton was born out of a small office in a Melbourne dealership, where Rob was selling car finance.

“Initially, we relied on referrals and word-of-mouth support, but I recognised a trend in Australians doing more and more everyday transactions online,” Rob shared.

“It didn’t take me long to realise that the ideal way to reach out and assist all consumers looking to purchase a vehicle was through the internet.”

Making the most out of technology

Since its inception, stratton has enjoyed strong growth and success, which Rob partly attributes to keeping up with technology.

“We embraced technology from the get-go and we continue to look for ways to innovate and integrate emerging technologies to our best advantage,” he said.

“We do this not just in marketing, but also with systems and processes. Right now, we are currently trialling electronic signing of documents which will make the application to approval process much quicker and easier for our clients.”

stratton now has a team of 180 nationwide and is one of the highest traffic generating vehicle finance websites in the country with over a million visitors per year.

Further signifying the company’s success, stratton announced in July 2014 that it was acquired by one of Australia’s leading automotive classifieds and data businesses. Carsales.com signed a binding agreement under which it acquired a 50.1 per cent shareholding in stratton.