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GMD snaps up Hanover sites

GM Daewoo has swooped to buy four dealerships from Hanover Automotive, which went into administration last month.

The sites in Cardiff, Exeter, Luton and Swansea all had the Daewoo franchise under Hanover, and are crucial to the future growth of the South Korean brand in the UK. A new motor retail group, called NHM Ltd, has been formed to acquire the dealerships. Initially, NHM will be jointly owned by GM Daewoo UK and Frank Andrew, formerly an investor in Hanover Automotive. Andrew has been named managing director of NMH.

NMH will operate under the Motor Holdings structure, which GM has successfully employed in the UK with Vauxhall since the late 1980s. This enables GM to invest in a business while allowing an independent team to run the dealership. Over time, GM's stake can be bought out by the successful management team.

Motors Holdings was one of the first such schemes in the UK. Its success prompted several other manufacturers to announce similar schemes – particularly to fill urban gaps in their dealer networks.

The latest move by GM Daewoo comes just one year after Daewoo UK started appointing franchised dealers. Prior to this, Daewoo's UK retail stores were wholly-owned by the South Korean company.

As part of the massive GM empire, Daewoo is now in a position to invest in retail operations once again. Hanover Group was one of Daewoo's most important UK retailers, with sites in Exeter, Swansea, Luton and Cardiff. It was formed in October 2002, with aims to grow sales to £48m within a year. In addition to the Daewoo sites, it owns Daihatsu, Isuzu, MG Rover, Kia and Subaru franchises.

The company's major retail complex is the multi-franchised Han-over Automotive Phoenix Way outlet at Enterprise Park in Swansea.

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