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Toyota buys two London groups to enter AM100

A Japanese retail group has snapped up two dealer groups in London, propelling it into the AM100. Toyota Tsusho Corporation, whose largest shareholder is Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan with a 22.9 per cent stake, has bought Jemca and McCarthy in separate purchases for undisclosed sums.

The company now has six Toyota sites, three Lexus and an all-make contract hire and leasing division. Initial plans to trade as TTC Automobiles South London have been shelved for five months while Toyota Tsusho assesses the strength of the two existing names. With sales set to exceed 7500 vehicles a year, the company has an estimated turnover of £130m – putting it at number 58 in the AM100.

Heading the operation is group managing director Mike Mead, formerly aftersales director for Toyota Great Britain. He says the group will invest more than £10m to bring its retail sites into line with manufacturer standards. The outlets are in Sidcup, Bromley, Maidstone, Weybridge, Croydon, Kingston, Edgware Road, Fulham and Tottenham.

Mead wants to add another three sites to the business. “By the end of 2004, we expect to be turning over more than £150m a year and be in the top 50 of the AM100,” he says. If that goal is achieved, it means the group will rub shoulders with Glenvarigill, Eastern Western Motor Group and Dick Lovett in the turnover-based listings. TTC is a global operation responsible for exporting Toyota vehicles to more than 100 countries. Its business interests also include metals, machinery and electronics. The company operates car dealerships from 48 cities in 38 countries. In 2002, it sold more than 200,000 vehicles and its turnover is £14bn.

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