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JCT600 to spend £17m on new Yorkshire area

The automotive retail market in Yorkshire is set to witness a major shake up after JCT600, the multi-franchise dealer group, announced plans to invest £17m in a new Mercedes-Benz retail area.

The operation, which will start to take shape later this year, will cover the hard-fought territories of Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley and is part of the firm's aggressive expansion plan.

The jewel in the new retail area crown will be a £5m four-acre site housing the Mercedes-Benz brand experience centre. Located outside Sheffield city centre, this site will have a 30-car showroom with space for 62 cars on the forecourt. It will also have a 14-bay workshop and 140 customer parking spaces.

Not only is JCT investing £17m in the new south Yorkshire market area, the firm is also ploughing cash into full sales and service dealerships in Doncaster and Sheffield.

JCT600's highly competitive expansion programme has a budget of £24m, a chunk of which will go towards a new BMW retail centre with stand-alone Mini showroom. The site could be up and running as soon as June 2003. Rounding off the expansion programme will be a refurbishment of JCT600's Porsche dealership in Newcastle, which will include a re-built showroom.

The news comes after the firm announced record turnover and pre-tax profits. The Bradford-based dealer group saw its turnover increase by 13 per cent to £275m and pre-tax profits double to £7.15m. The trading boom has continued into 2002 with year-to-date profits up 13 per cent. Year 2000 results saw JCT600 suffer a 15 per cent drop in profits due to plummeting residual values.

Takings were up thanks to growth in the prestige sector and expansion of its Toyota franchises. But JCT600 has been pushed to its limits because of last summer's Bradford riots, which saw one of its dealerships razed to the ground. This was coupled with news that Mercedes-Benz was to restructure its dealer network.

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