DC Cook has gone into receivership, with debts in excess of £27m. The group, which employs 700 people and operates 27 franchise outlets, including Fiat, Alfa, Citroen and Renault, made losses of £6.3m before tax (1999: £10.8m) in the year to April 30, 2000.
Motor Solutions Limited, a web-based car retailer, is the only company in the group not in receivership. All the companies in the group are continuing to trade normally.
Nigel Ruddock, a parter in Grant Thornton, appointed administrative receivers to DC Cook Holdings, said: "DC Cook has been suffering cash-flow problems for quite some time, reflecting the significant problems faced by the industry as a whole, following a period in which it expanded rapidly.
"Our task is to analyse the financial situation at the company in some detail and to stabilise the situation. DC Cook is a significant player within its industry and we believe certain parts of it will prove attractive to potential purchasers.
"We will be having talks with the manufacturers concerned to try to make sure all customers' deposits on cars can be honoured."