Pendragon buys Scotthall BMW Leeds

Pendragon buys Scotthall BMW Leeds

20/12/2011 in News, All News, Dealer News, Market Insight

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Pendragon has bought Scotthall BMW in Leeds from Jardine Motors Group.

Jardine had operated the site, which is a case study on aftersales in the latest December issue of AM magazine, for 20 years.

BMW said it will continue its partnership with Jardine in the south of England.

The transaction is due to complete in the New Year, and all staff will transfer to Pendragon.

"This represents a significant strategic acquisition for Pendragon," said Trevor Finn Pendragon's chief executive.

"We look forward to strengthening our business relationship with BMW Group UK through the addition of this dealership to our portfolio."

Pendragon already operates BMW and Mini dealerships in the Yorkshire and Derbyshire areas.

It had previously held even more BMW sites, however four were sold to new partners when BMW UK reviewed its network and issued its new five-year franchise contracts in 2008.

The image below shows the location of Pendragon dealerships (in yellow) in the Leeds area. The red pin shows the single Jardine site in the area, Appleyard Jaguar, in Bradford. Source: AMi


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Pendragon plc is the largest independent operator of franchised motor car dealerships in the UK with a turnover of in excess of £3 billion tops the AM100.

Pendragon sells a broad range of makes of motor cars and commercial vehicles. It also has a substantial presence in the UK vehicle leasing, wholesale parts and dealer management software markets.

Pendragon became a public limited company when the vehicle division of Williams plc was de-merged in 1989, at that time operating 19 car dealerships, representing specialist and luxury franchises, in addition to a small contract hire business.

It now represents more 20 brands operating out of over 300 outlets in the UK and in California, USA.

Covering both specialist and volume brands our largest representation is with Ford and is closely followed by Vauxhall where we are the largest retailer in the UK.

The group’s specialist marques range from Maserati to Mercedes-Benz, Pendragon is the largest franchised dealer for Harley Davidson outside of the USA. It also runs the Evans Halshaw (volume brands) and Stratstone (premium brands).

Chatfields is Pendragon’s commercial van and truck business.

The focus of the business, led by Trevor Finn, is now on “bigger relationships with fewer manufacturers”. He said in February 2012: “The future will see us consolidating and remaining at the forefront of our industry.”

For many years Pendragon has been cutting back sites and staff numbers as it strives to reduce its debts and tackle its pension deficit.

In 2011 it announced a rights issue aimed at raising £70 million. It has secured new credit facilities with bankers until June 2014 conditional on the £70m being used to tackle debts.

In its 2013 full-year financials turnover was up from £3.6 billion to £3.9bn year-on-year, with profit before tax at £44.2m compared to £36.4m. Gearing reduced from 79% to 46%, net debt from £216.4m to £139.6m.

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Jardine Motors Group

Originally founded in 1969 by Ronald and Nicholas Lancaster, the Jardine Motors Group operated as a family owned business in East Anglia representing Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Porsche and Ferrari.

In 1981 Jardine Matheson acquired 76% of the company before taking 100% ownership in 1992.

Since then, Jardine Motors Group has expanded its operations both geographically and with the addition of further premium brands including BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Volkswagen, Aston Martin, Bentley, Toyota, Maserati, Lamborghini, Mini, Smart and Honda to its portfolio.

The latest addition in McLaren, with Jardine running the brand’s flagship London showroom.

Today the Group represents 24 franchises at over 75 franchise locations, employs approximately 3,000 staff and operates under the following names: Lancaster, Scotthall, Wayside, Appleyard, Minories, Abridge and Clover Leaf Cars.

Jardine was behind the most significant deal in the AM100 since Cambria Automobiles bought Summit Auto in 2008, when in 2011 it took over Wayside Group, pushing its turnover above £1.2 billion and into the top 10 of the AM100 for the first time.

At the point of the deal, Alun Jones, Jardine Motors’ chief executive, said: "The acquisition is a major step forward in delivering our strategic plan of growing the business in the UK and developing our relationships with existing franchise partners.”

Jardine subsequently went on to to buy three Toyota dealerships in Ipswich, Colchester and Frinton-on-Sea and a Lexus dealership in Ipswich from Thorndale Investments (turnover in 2010 £33 million, 92 staff).

In August 2012 the group consolidated its presence in the East with the purchase of a Lexus and Toyota site and aftersales centre in Cambridge from Turner Motor Group.

Jones announced his retirement in December 2012 - and his successor, finance director Mark Herbert.

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BMW’s share of the market has been in decline since 2012, but it is still one of the most successful brands, with almost 6% market share.

In 2013, it launched its i electric car sub-brand and is making the i3 and i8 available to purchase, initially through 47 dealers (business sales specialists) of its near 150-strong network, with the remainder able to carry out diagnostic and body repair work.

The i cars have renewed interest in plug-in vehicles and BMW will be seeking to buy back cars at the end of the initial lifecycle to avoid doubt over residual values.

It is also entering the MPV segment this year with the 2 Series Active Tourer, giving it a rival to the Mercedes-Benz B-Class and Ford C-Max, a niche as yet untouched by its big rival Audi.

Dealers rate the BMW franchise highly, while the new products are likely to bring new customers to the brand.

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