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Carmakers to 'lease outlets'

HR Owen chief executive Nick Lancaster has forecast that manufacturers will own most retail car sites and lease them to talented entrepreneurs.

He said a number of dealer groups were under “enormous pressure” from manufacturers to consolidate. “We are in for a period of sweeping changes,” said Mr Lancaster, whose group is in the top 20 of the AM100 group of leading UK motor retailers.

“We have looked at merging with other groups but they carried lots of baggage, so we removed ourselves from the process.”

##Lancaster(1)--left##Mr Lancaster (pictured) said HR Owen - a group largely focussed in the South-east with specialist marques - was strongly placed to grow. “I believe future success will come from strong regional groups,” he said.

Mr Lancaster welcomed Glyn Hopkin's success in gaining one of the four new M25 Fiat territories which are replacing Pendragon's network.

“I told Fiat it would not work,” he said. “I believe Pendragon and Lancaster plc will be broken up - we need more hands-on dealers like Glyn Hopkin."

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