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First GM multibrand centre to open in Bournemouth

Seward, the south-coast dealer group, is investing around £4.5m in Europe’s first General Motors brand centre which will be selling new Vauxhalls, Saabs and Daewoos before the end of the year.

GM plans 20 brand centres in the UK, although a spokesman says not all will be triple-franchised, adding: “It depends on the local area.”

A new two-storey dealership (branded Seward) is being constructed on the site of the group’s demolished Vauxhall dealership on a busy main road close to the centre of Bournemouth.

Customers will enter via an atrium and be directed to a showroom or the service/parts department. Vauxhall will have a two-storey 18-vehicle showroom, and there will be separate four-car Saab Unlimited and Daewoo sales areas on different floors.

Seward was encouraged to become a GM centre partner because the town is part of a leading UK market area for Vauxhall cars and light commercials with a parc of around 28,000 vehicles.

John Saunders, Seward managing director, says: “It is a joint venture but Vauxhall has a stake of only 1%. We are happy to be the main investor because we have great belief in the potential for Vauxhall, Saab and Daewoo in this area.”

Seward’s origins lie in the former Trident group which went into receivership five years ago. Trident began, in 1987, as a £3m-turnover business with 30 employees. It now has a £90m turnover and a workforce of 300. It retains the MG Rover franchise and has added Hyundai. Last year, the group captured 2,000 retail and fleet Vauxhall registrations and sold 3,000 used vehicles.

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