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Pendragon on the hunt Stateside

Pendragon is hunting for small dealer group acquisitions across the Atlantic to create a US operation equal in size to its UK business by the end of the decade.

In order to achieve the goal, the UK’s largest dealer group, which has its headquarters in Nottingham, would need to add more than 200 outlets to match its 250-plus dealerships here.

In 1997, Pendragon’s board formulated a 10-year expansion plan to have its business split 40% in the UK, 40% in the US and 20% in Europe. Yet with only three years remaining, the company still achieves around 70% of its £3bn turnover in the UK.

Pendragon chief executive Trevor Finn says that objective remains the group’s long-term goal. “I’ll say that we’re on track with certain aspects of that plan, but in other areas we’re nowhere near,” he adds. “We’d like to end up with a business that has a balance between the two countries.”

Its pattern of growth Stateside is likely to reflect its growth in the UK, although at a faster rate. It took from1982 to 1989 for Pendragon as a whole to reach the size its US division is now – about £175m turnover from 12 dealerships.

Finn says he will look to expand mainly with the major European brands Pendragon already represents in America, which include Land Rover and Jaguar, through acquisitions of small and medium dealer groups.

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