For CAF, which has branches from Poole to Brighton, the purchase fills a geographical gap between the M25 and the south coast. It also signals a growing trend for smaller players in the parts distribution sector to be snapped up by larger ones and the strengthening of strategic power partnerships.
While CAF sales and marketing director Les Davis emphasises the company is not expanding for expansion's sake, he says: “We've been looking for a suitable opportunity in this area for some time. Capital Motor Supplies provides us with the right vehicle to continue our expansion programme.”
Davis says CMS was a “reasonably successful business,” but adds, “it's becoming very difficult for a one-branch factor to survive.”
Capital Motor Supplies' former proprietor Richard Toft was not available for comment at the time of going to press but is understood to be planning to launch a smaller scale automotive business.
CAF, a member of the UK Parts Alliance with Andrew Page, Allparts Automotive, Central Auto Supplies, CES (UK), Dingbro and SC Motor Factors, acquired a new branch in Bournemouth earlier in the year - part of a factors' buying spree sparked by the collapse of the Bulldog Express network, which had been run by former Finelist chief Chris Swan. In December, he disposed of the key Bulldog outlets in Brighton, Bournemouth, Camborne, Penrith and Llandudno and closed operations in Stratford-upon-Avon, Cradley Heath and Birmingham.
Mill Auto Supplies took over Bulldog's Camborne branch, Jayar Components snapped up the Brighton premises, Component Distribution Network moved into Llandudno, and TMS Motor Spares acquired the Penrith operation. All four are Independent Motor Trade Association members.
The UK Parts Alliance recently strengthened its market position by forming a strategic link with the UK Garage Alliance, an independent network styled as “a powerful alternative to main dealers and national fast-fit chains”.