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Redevelopment costs close Renault dealer

The pressures of satisfying modern corporate standards has led to the closure of Portsmouth Renault franchise Liningtons, which has had a presence in the city since it began producing horse-drawn carriages in 1811.

According to the motor retailer, Renault had wanted the Milton Road site to either redevelop or relocate, neither of which proved financially viable for the company. As a result the franchise has moved over to Seward.

A statement from the dealership prior to the October 1 transfer said: “As the cost to redevelop was not practical, Liningtons actively sought, in conjunction with Renault, a new site but could not find one that was entirely suitable. When MG Rover folded it was an ideal opportunity to solve the problem by selling to Seward. It is likely the site will eventually be available for redevelopment.”

According to the Portsmouth Today newspaper, between 30 to 35 Liningtons staff will move to Seward’s Bilton Way site, but 20 will be made redundant. Liningtons had been a Renault dealer for 38 years.

A statement from Renault UK, received by AM, says: “It was a joint decision between Renault UK and Liningtons to transfer the franchise which has been very amicable. We would like to thank Liningtons for all its years of service.”

Kevin Clark, Seward’s managing director, says he is proud to have been awarded the franchise and is convinced he will be able to convert other drivers to the brand. He says: “We have worked for some time to acquire this marque and are delighted that Renault has the confidence in us to develop and expand its presence in the Portsmouth area.”

Seward believes the Renault franchise will boost its £75m turnover by up to £20m a year. It now has Fiat, Suzuki and Renault, as well as an MG Rover XPart business. This and the Suzuki franchise will move to Seward’s West Street, Havant site, which currently houses just Fiat.

Seward also operates a GM brand centre in Bournemouth.

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