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EXCLUSIVE: Ford goes direct to buy Quartic Group

Wholly-owned Ford subsidiary Ford Retail UK confirmed today it has bought 11 of the 12 Quartic Group sites put into administrative receivership in October.

The move is Ford's first sole ownership purchase in a complete U-turn on previous comments that it would not get involved in direct retailing. It has also sparked further speculation that the blue oval will be looking to take on sole ownership of other customer marketing areas, including First Ford in Glasgow - also in receivership after the carmaker issued notice of termination.

The announcement comes just a week after acquisition talks between Ford and shareholders of its joint venture with Jardine - Polar Motor Group - broke down, ending two months of uncertainty over the future of Quartic's Heartland Ford, Brunel Ford and Atlantic Ford CMAs.

Heartland Ford's Lichfield dealership is excluded from the deal, but all other locations - which include Heartland Ford in Erdington, Perry Bar and Tamworth, two Brunel Ford outlets in Bristol and one in Weston-super-Mare, as well as Atlantic Ford's two Stockport dealerships and those in Wilmslow, Macclesfield and Hazel Grove are now under Ford ownership.

In a statement read by CMA managing directors Bob Quirk (Atlantic Ford, Manchester), Jamie Russell (Heartlands Ford, Birmingham) and Julian Hardy (Brunel Ford, Bristol), Ford Retail UK chairman and CEO Chris Hayden (also director of Ford Retail Europe) told more than 600 Quartic staff that while they would still be employed by Ford, none would be subject to Ford Motor Company employment terms and conditions. He also confirmed that the new group would remain a single brand business.

“This deal has been completed quickly before Christmas to end the uncertainty for you all,” staff were told. “I look forward to working with you to create a world class retailing business."

Ford, meanwhile has refused to comment on the future of First Ford.

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