Lynx Group's £40m turnover Automotive Systems division has been purchased in a management buy-out, led by managing director David Hayward. The move followed pressure from City analysts that perceived Lynx Group to be too diversified.
The IT firm's Automate dealer management system, used by dealers including Dixon Motors, Lythgoe Group and Warner, accounts for 40% of its business. It incorporates the Target customer relationship management module, used by Arnold Clarke and MSF, which can be sold as a standalone product.
Peugeot has installed Target CRM in all its French dealerships and most of its UK outlets.
Mr Hayward acquired the Swindon-based automotive business with customer services director John Pollitt and major accounts director Paul Cripps.
They are confident the DMS market will experience a slight upturn this year, though Mr Cripps said dealers were not investing in IT “unless there is a pressing need”.
He added: “Everyone is too worried by the uncertainties in the market and scared about whether they will have a future as a franchisee. Manufacturers are starting to put IT rental schemes in place to overcome the worries, but many dealers are finding it impossible to arrange finance because of bank worries about the industry.”
Lynx, which is approved by Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall, Mitsubishi, Ford and Hyundai, intends to increase spend on R&D to around 15% of turnover over the next few years, said Mr Cripps.