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Franchises: Finn confident

Trevor Finn, Pendragon chief executive, is confident manufacturers will refranchise most dealerships acquired in the acquisition of CD Bramall, despite the announcement that Tony Bramall has bought back two Audi sites.

Pendragon held no franchises with a number of carmakers previously represented by CD Bramall and discussions began immediately after the deal was announced. “The vast majority of the manufacturers concerned were happy about the deal, and therefore I don't see any franchising issues,” says Finn.

Audi UK boss Kevin Rose says the company informed Pendragon about the decision to terminate its franchise agreements prior to the purchase. Negotiations are ongoing about a third site, Executive Motors in St Albans, which insiders believe will be purchased by Whitehouse Group. It already has Audi outlets in Kent and Essex.

Peugeot, meanwhile, has insisted that Pendragon commits to Tony Bramall's planned investment in its four outlets before agreeing to refranchise. Christian Gerard, Peugeot UK managing director, says: “I've met Trevor Finn and have explained our brand strategy and the fact that we want to work a certain way. They have to demonstrate if they want to work that same way.

“We had a programme of investment agreed with CD Bramall and I expect the same thing from Pendragon, which includes moving one premises to a new site.”

Pendragon and Volkswagen parted company about four years ago and a spokesman for the manufacturer says: “We are in discussion with Pendragon about the single site it has bought, and we will make a decision within a few weeks.”

Mazda is also taking to Finn about the future of a single site and Hyundai says the acquisition by Pendragon of its single Bramall site could lead to new opportunities.

A Saab spokesman says Pendragon's application to continue operating a site would be considered. Citroen is likely to let Pendragon hold its franchise at four former Bramall sites, according to a spokesman. Subaru has “good relations” with Pendragon and there will be no changes at the two acquired sites.

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