Inchcape exits Ford franchise

Group 1 Automotive acquires Inchcape Ford dealerships

28/02/2013 in News, All News, Dealer News

print twitter fb in
Was this article useful?

Click the thumbs up >

Group 1 Automotive acquires Inchcape Ford dealerships

Group 1 Automotive has acquired Inchcape’s four Ford dealerships for an undisclosed sum.

The dealerships will trade under the "think Ford" brand name and are located in Farnborough, Guildford, Wokingham and Bracknell.

Five years ago Inchcape announced it was looking to reduce the amount of volume brands it represents to focus on premium, but until now it had retained the Ford franchise.

US-based Group 1 says the acquisition complements its existing BMW/MINI dealerships located in Farnborough and other adjacent market areas south and southwest of London.

The deal will add £117 million to Group 1’s turnover – taking it to £334m and 17 places up the AM100 table, overtaking Ridgeway.

Earl J. Hesterberg, Group 1's president and chief executive officer, said: “We are delighted to add Ford to our brand offerings in England with this acquisition of four dealerships in a growing area outside of London.

"We are also very pleased to expand our relationship with Ford Motor Company internationally."

Group 1 owns and operates 124 automotive dealerships, 160 franchises, and 32 collision centers in the United States and the United Kingdom that offer 31 brands of automobiles. It has also just completed an 18 dealership acquisition in Brazil.



AMi Header

Inchcape Retail

Part of a global automotive group, Inchcape Retail is one of the UK’s largest groups holding franchises for Audi, BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Porsche, Smart, Toyota and Volkswagen.

It’s stated vision is to be “the world’s most customer-centric automotive retail group” around its Inchcape Advantage programme and based on a scale retail business with these premium brand partners, together with a fleet leasing operation.

Strategy is based on five priorities: growing market share, growing aftersales, improving margin, controlling working capital and selective capital expenditure investment.

Inchcape’s full-year 2011 pre-tax profit improved 5.9% to £203.4 million from £192.1 million, and pre-tax profit before exceptional items grew to £227.7 million from the prior year's £214.0 million.

In July 2012, Inchcape announced its UK business had grown half-year operating profits by 4.8% against the first half of 2011, despite revenues remaining flat at £1.085bn.

On taking out its Inchcape Fleet Solutions division, like for like sales at its Inchcape Retail dealer group actually rose by 3% to £1.064bn in the period, and its trading margin improved from 3% to 3.2%, a record for the business. The trading profit rose 4.3% to £33.8m.

Inchcape said the group has gained market share and revenue growth was driven by strong new product launches including the Audi A1 Sportback, Audi Q3, BMW 3 series and 6 series GT, Mercedes-Benz B Class, Lexus GS, the MINI Roadster, the new Porsche Boxster and 911, the Toyota Yaris Hybrid, the VW Beetle, Passat Coupe and Up.

It reported double-digit growth in its UK revenues in the third quarter of 2013.

In an interim trading statement Inchcape said it achieved like for like revenue growth of 13.4% in Q3 as it benefited from new car market growth and the strength of its franchise portfolio in premium and luxury segments against a backdrop of margin pressure on vehicles.

Inchcape operates in core regions of the South East, Midlands, North and North East of England with 128 retail centres.

Each of its car dealerships has specially trained sales staff for retail, fleet and business vehicle sales, together with manufacturer trained staff to help with parts and service requirements.

The distribution element of our results is made up of our fleet leasing business, Inchcape Fleet Solutions (IFS), which offers fleet management and leasing services to corporate and Government customers. With over 50 years’ experience in the automotive industry, IFS has a combined fleet size of approximately 41,000 vehicles.

Inchcape is based in London and employs around 13,900 people. It has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1958.

Please note: Data for this business is limited to information provided voluntarily from time to time by the business on request, or is derived from data disclosed in the accounts of a larger entity of which this business is a part.

Read more



Profit before tax

profit guide


gearing guide

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



Profit before tax

profit guide


gearing guide

AMi enables you to:

  • Monitor the UK’s most dynamic dealers
  • Identify the fastest growing dealers
  • Assess brand relationships
  • Benchmark performance
  • Access dealer health checks
  • Assess risk and identify opportunities
  • Track dealer group activity.

AMi is available on subscription. To find out more download our digital brochure or call Sara Donald on 01733 366474 or email



(no need to login)

Your name:

Your email:

(will not be shown)

Please enter the code above.

Notify me when people reply

Click here to login to leave a comment

Comments (0)

poll header

Do customers buy cars from you because of your brand, or the manufacturer's? Please leave a comment

My dealer brand and reputation: 40 %

The manufacturer's brand and reputation: 44 %

It's about the product, not the brand: 16 %

Vote now