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Seat looks to expand further in 2012

Seat has expanded its UK network with seven new dealers open at the start of 2012.

Sinclair Group, Essex Auto Group, Dales, Mon Motors Group, Eastern Western Motor Group, Snows Group and Currie Motors have all added new sites with the Spanish brand.

Seat has a 1.86% share of the UK market and will be looking to boost that further with new models like its Mii city car.

Sinclair Group, which already represents Seat’s sister brands Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda, has opened a new showroom at its site in Gorseinon Road, Swansea.

Meanwhile, the Essex Auto Group has added a second Seat franchise to its growing portfolio with the opening of a new outlet on the Lakeside retail complex in Thurrock. The group already operates a Seat dealership in Southend-on-Sea.

Additionally, established Seat retailer Dales has added a new showroom on the outskirts of Newquay to its existing site just off the A30 near Redruth to further boost the brand’s showing in the South West.

South Wales retailer Mon Motors Group opened its first Seat franchise in Newport in late November and then Eastern Western Motor Group opened its first Seat dealership in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Snows Group, which already operates Seat franchises in Southampton, Portsmouth and Poole – will add another dealership in Salisbury in February.

And Currie Motors, operator of Toyota and Lexus franchises in Middlesex and London, will open a new Seat dealership in North East London in the first quarter of 2012.

Seat UK national franchise manager, Jason Cranswick, said: "Our 2011 sales records speak volumes about the growing appeal of the brand and with a determined focus on further improving both our service to our dealers, and their profitability, I think it’s easy to see why we are developing and strengthening our ties with some of the UK’s most successful dealer groups.

"There’s no question that 2012 will present significant challenges to the motor industry but with new model line-up in their showrooms I know our dealers will be best-placed to exploit the opportunities ahead."

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Eastern Western Motor Group

Eastern Western Motor Group is a Scottish privately owned business group, founded in 1927 by John Brown.

Its focus from the beginning was to focus the business on retailing only executive, quality or niche products. Eastern Western now represents 14 brands at 29 dealerships, stocks more than 3,000 new and used cars and geographically covers an area from the Highlands to the North east of England.

It also has a bodyshop, Eastern Western Accident Repair Centre, near Edinbugh.

It is a former AM UK bodyshop of the year with a turnover of £2.6 million per annum. It has approvals from many manufacturers, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Toyota and Saab, and is the only Ferrari approved centre in Scotland.

It took on the Seat franchise in 2011, opening its first dedicated dealership in Benton, Newcastle, trading as Western Seat on the Bellway Industry Estate. The industrial estate is already the site of a Saab dealership (Western Newcastle) and is an authorised Ford repair centre.

Another part of the business is the used car brand Car Deal Warehouse (CDW). It has centres in Scotland and Newcastle. EWMG also supplies company cars.

EWMG is also a member of the online used car sales website,, established by Perrys, Vertu and Lookers’ senior management.

EWMG intends that the business remain independent, family-owned and “financially secure”.

Turnover in 2009 to 2010 fell from £297 million to £289m.

Turnover to December 31, 2011 grew by more than 12 per cent to £324.4m. Gross profit rose by 6.2 per cent to £39.4m.

It follows a string of franchises that were taken on in late 2010, including Lexus in Glasgow and Honda and Mazda in Edinburgh. However, the company’s directors stressed that they did not see any “significant” profits flowing from the additions for up to two years while they built up their after-sales business.

Start-up costs linked to the extra dealerships ate into earnings during the year, with profits at a pre-tax level falling to just below £3.3m from £5.1m in 2010.

The group also had to contend with a “massive” decline in turnover and profit contribution from its Saab showrooms following the collapse of the Swedish brand. It has since refranchised two of the outlets, with Volkswagen-owned Seat, and is in talks regarding the others. The sites will remain as Saab authorised repairers.

According to the 2011 accounts, the firm paid an interim dividend of £800,000, slightly down on the £809,000 from a year earlier. As in 2010, no final dividend was proposed.

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Snows Motor Group

Southampton-based Snows Group is a family and privately owned company that has been in business for nearly 50 years and has strong representation in the south of England.

It represents the BMW, Kia, Lexus, Mini, Seat, Toyota and Volvo brands from 15 outlets across Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight employing over 350 staff. Used cars are sold through the brand Too Good To Auction ( offering part-exchange vehicles that it would previously have disposed of through auctions.

In 2011 it employed a sales executive from Poland to meet the needs of her compatriots in the Southampton area.

Agnieszka Zytkiewicz was employed at Snows Toyota to target the local Polish community of 20,000.

Turnover in 2010 was £104 million (2009: £98m).

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Seat UK

Seat will be targeting its eighth year of uninterrupted growth this year, after breaking through the 50,000 sales barrier for the first time.

Sales were up 18% to 53,512, close behind Honda and Mini, while sales in January 2015 put the firm ahead of the two rival brands.

Retail sales in 2015 were up nearly 25% to 29,901 and fleet sales leapt 11% to 23,611.

To maintain momentum, a near corporate identify is to be rolled out across the network, which will be backed by a focus on winning customer praise after a two-year drubbing in the Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction poll.

Seat was placed bottom, leading the manufacturer to claim it had 'let our dealers down'.

Rather than point the finger at dealers, Seat says it hasn't engaged with them enough and will make that a priority in the coming years.

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