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GUS first to offer financial backing for parallel imports

Great Universal Stores has become the first major financier to offer public support for unofficial car imports after its General Guarantee Finance division provided investment funds for Wundercars.co.uk

The agreement comes despite GUS looking to offload General Guarantee for the second time. The finance business has been on the market for two months and City experts claim GUS is having little success with the disposal.

GUS has also linked its Highway Vehicle Management business with Wundercars.co.uk to provide contract hire, leasing and personal contract purchase facilities for cars imported by the York-based company.

Wundercars.co.uk imports prestige marques from mainland Europe and low mileage mainstream models from daily rental companies in the Channel Islands. After 15 months it is said to be making £62,000 gross profit on weekly sales of £750,000.

Half of sales are financed by hire purchase contracts with General Guarantee. Monthly costs for car buyers are lower because the company sets future residual values for the cheaper imports at levels only fractionally lower than UK-supplied cars.

The vehicles will also be offered on contract hire or personal contract purchase agreements with Highway Vehicle Management from July. Motorists will be able to calculate their finance costs on the website.

Highway expects 1,500-2,000 vehicles will be financed in this way before the end of the year.

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