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Group 1 confirms Essex Audi acquisition

Group 1 has confirmed it has acquired Essex Audi Group for an undisclosed sum.

AM revealed two weeks ago that Group 1 was in the final stages to purchase the six-site Audi business.

Earl J. Hesterberg, Group 1's president and chief executive officer, said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of these six Audi dealerships in East London and Essex, as we have been patiently looking for an opportunity to expand our presence and luxury brand offerings in the UK.

“This acquisition more than doubles our footprint in the region while adding scale and additional leverage to the business. In addition, we are extremely pleased to expand our global relationship with the Volkswagen Group by partnering with Audi UK, a luxury market leader in the UK.”

Essex Audi Group will add $275 million (£170.5m) to Group 1’s turnover and Hesterberg believes the acquisition will complement its five existing BMW/MINI dealerships in the region.

The dealerships – Stansted Audi, Chelmsford Audi, Southend Audi, Harold Wood Audi, Chingford Audi and Docklands Audi – are located in the growing, Essex and East London areas, approximately 90 miles from Group 1's existing dealerships.

The Essex Audi name will be retained at the acquired sites.

US-based Group 1, which began sales in the UK in 2007 with its takeover of Chandlers BMW and expanded by buying Barons BMW in 2010, said earlier this year it wanted to expand.














Hodgson Automotive (t/a Essex Audi) 10-year financial KPIs. Source: AMi

The distribution of dealerships in the newly expanded Group 1 business. Source: AMi

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Group 1 Automotive

Group 1 Automotive was the second US-based dealer group to build a business in the UK.

Based in Houston, Texas, it bought £91.5m turnover Chandlers Garage in south-east England with BMW/Mini dealerships in Brighton, Worthing and Hailsham.

Overseeing the UK operation is Ian Twinley, chairman of John Grose Group, and the group's CEO is Chris Hayden, former boss of Ford Retail. He was appointed in May 2013.

The group holds the BMW and Mini franchises with 10 outlets in Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex.
2010 turnover was £206 million (2010: 139,468m) on total car sales of 11,255 and 232 LCVs.

The first US-based group to invest in a UK motor retail operation was United Auto Group, run by Roger Penske. It bought Sytner in 2002.

In the UK Group 1 trades as Barons Group and Chandlers Group.

In May 2012 it bought Hodgson Automotive comprising eight sites in NE London and Essex. It retained the Essex Audi trading name at its sites.

And in February 2013 Group 1 four Ford dealerships from Inchcape signalling its exit from the brand. It added £117m to Group 1 turnover.

Read more


Group 1 Automotive Turnover

Profit before tax

Group 1 Automotive profit before tax
profit guide


Group 1 Automotive gearing
gearing guide

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