Ridgeway Group to expand with first BMW and Mini sites

Ridgeway Group to expand with first BMW and Mini sites

07/02/2012 in News, All News, Dealer News

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Ridgeway Group to expand with first BMW and Mini sites

Ridgeway Group has agreed, subject to contract, to purchase BMW and Mini dealerships located in Bournemouth, Salisbury and Odiham from Wood Group for an undisclosed sum.

It will be Ridgeway’s first dealerships with the BMW and Mini brand. The deal is expected to complete before the end of next month.

Wood Group will keeps its sites in Chichester and Waterlooville, near Hampshire.

The acquisition is expected to add £100 million to Ridgeway's group turnover, which would take it to around the £450m turnover mark. This could take Ridgeway into the top 20 in the AM100.

All employees at the Wood BMW and Mini sites will transfer to Ridgeway Group and consultation has started with the workforce.

The Wood name has been retained at the purchased sites.

Ridgeway financial stats to 2010 (Source: AMi)


David Newman, chairman of Ridgeway Group said: “This acquisition is a perfect strategic fit for us in terms of the brand strength and customer orientation of these businesses, and the locations adjoin our existing businesses.”

David Burton, Wood BMW managing director, said he was proud to have worked with the BMW and Mini brand for 30 years and was confident the business would continue to be successful under new ownership.

Tim Abbott, BMW Group UK managing director, said Ridgeway would introduce “fresh ideas” about the delivery of customer service.

The Ridgeway Group passenger car brand portfolio includes Audi, Mercedes-Benz (and AMG), Volkswagen, Skoda and smart as well as Mercedes-Benz, Fuso Canter and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. Ridgeway also operate a Chrysler Group service centre, two trade part specialist outlets, two used car centres and two paint & body repair centres.

The Ridgeway Group are on the shortlist for AM Awards 2012 “Best Retail Group (more than 10 sites)”.

Ridgeway (yellow) and Woods' (black) dealership locations (Source: AMi)


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Ridgeway Group

Starting out with a Volkswagen and Audi showroom in Newbury and a Volkswagen dealership in Wantage in 1997, a further brand was added to the portfolio in 1999 when Jewson Skoda in Oxford was purchased.

This was followed two years later with the addition of Volkswagen retailer Ridgeway Reading in 2001.

In 2004 the group gained preferred partner status from Volkswagen and Audi as well as opening a new vehicle preparation centre near Newbury.

In 2005, a second Audi Centre was acquired by the Ridgeway Group in Oxford and in March 2006, the company opened a new bodyshop operation.

In December 2006, Ridgeway Group bought the Pentagon Group, which added the Mercedes-Benz and smart brands as well as the cities of Chichester, Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester.

The Pentagon Group also represents Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep in Portsmouth, Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles (truck and van) and Fuso Canter franchises in Poole, Portsmouth, Fareham, Southampton and Andover.

In 2007 Ridgeway Used Car Centres in Totton, Southampton and Portsmouth were opened.

At the turn of January 2010 the Ridgeway Group acquired two ex-Motorworld Volkswagen passenger car retailers in Oxford based at Oxford Motor Park, Kidlington and Iffley Road, Oxford [inc. a bodyshop and accident repair centre] bringing the group's Volkswagen site representation to five.

In November 2010 it opened two vehicle rental centres.

The first out of the Ridgeway Group Preparation Centre at Greenham, Berkshire [covering Newbury and Oxford] and the other at Mercedes-Benz of Southampton that offers low emission vehicles for rent featuring the latest in CO2 and low carbon emission technology.

Turnover in 2010 was £308 million on 14,000 new car sales and 1,264 LCV. The company is headed up by chairman, David Newman, chief executive officer John O’Hanlon and Jon Head, group operations director and employs over 750 staff across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, West Sussex and Dorset.

In the first quarter of 2012 Ridgeway announced it had bought BMW and Mini dealerships in Bournemouth, Salisbury and Odiham from Wood Group, increasing its workforce to more than 1,000. The purchase was seen as a fit in terms of brand and location. The Wood name has been retained.

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Mini UK

Beside every BMW dealership lies a Mini showroom and although they’ve been busy selling more cars every year since 2009, market share since 2011 hasn’t kept pace.

This is likely to improve in 2015 with the introduction of the first five-door Mini hatchback, whose third generation was launched recently.

It will arrive in showrooms later this year, and while much of its appeal will lay in its driving dynamics, character and quality, it is a much more practical car than the three-door.

More rear legroom and boot space will ensure the Mini hatchback range can be put on the shopping lists of those who want a small car with five doors. The Mini’s huge range of customisation options and accessories should ensure it’s as much of a hit as the three-door model.

The larger Countryman and Paceman will also be revised later this year, which should help maintain their appeal.

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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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