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Black Horse used car super-shock

Lloyds TSB has sent shockwaves through the used car sector after opening a supersite in the Birmingham region.

The five-acre outlet in Oldbury, West Midlands, is branded Black Horse Car Sales and stocks up to 600 cars, rivalling car supermarkets like the Bristol Street Motors-owned Motor Nation.

The banking giant acquired the 38-outlet Dutton-Forshaw retail group in December 2002, But despite working closely together, Lloyds TSB told AM the two companies will remain separate, with Black Horse Car Sales being used solely as a remarketing arm. More than 5,000 cars a year will be handled at Oldbury, mainly one owner, ex-fleet, with guaranteed mileage and full service history. Black Horse sold more than 400 cars in the first two weeks of trading.

Used car stock is sourced from Lloyds TSB's 155,000-vehicle contract hire and leasing arm fleet, which has more than doubled in size over the last three years according to the Fleet News FN50 and now disposes of 70,000 cars a year through several different channels.

Lloyds TSB says the supersite is part of a pilot project, which if successful could see other outlets open across the UK. It has already re-branded its existing Autolease site in Birmingham with the Black Horse Car Sales name and closed its Birmingham Central Car Centre – the pilot study for Oldbury.

Heading up the new business is Glenn Sturley, who says the move injects a wide range of stock into the used car market.

“The business has got off to a cracking start and sales have been better than we thought,” he says. “Whether we expand depends on the success of this new site, but there is nothing concrete planned at the moment.” Drivers can view all the cars available, including vehicle details and photographs, on the company's website, which is updated daily. Each vehicle is given a 50-point mechanical inspection before being sold and every one comes with a three-month AA warranty.

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