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Holden shuffles brands

The Holden Group is relinquishing its Saab and Mitsubishi franchises in Norwich in plans aimed at increasing its long-term turnover.

The decision will allow Holden to make a substantial investment to expand and develop its Renault, Honda and ChryslerJeep franchises in the city.

In the next few months the company, which has traded in Norwich for more than 75 years, will create more space for its Renault dealership in Heigham Street, improving facilities for customers and allowing for a bigger choice of used cars.

At the same time, a Renault Van Centre will be opened on the city’s Sweet Briar Industrial Estate.

Holden will also completely redevelop its Honda dealership on Barker Street, trebling the space available.

ChryslerJeep will relocate from Barker Street to Whiffler Road and will be adding the Dodge franchise early next year. This branch will continue to provide aftersales service for MG and Rover vehicles.

Holden chief executive Chris Carey says: “It is important that we grow with our bigger partners, which is why we are parting company with Mitsubishi and Saab.

“There isn’t any animosity or bad feeling on either side – it’s very amicable, based purely on commercial and strategic reasons,” says Carey.

“The reorganization will initially lower our turnover, but will enable us to grow in the future. We see the bulk of our growth coming from Honda in the early days although, at the moment, Renault is our biggest partner.”

Holden’s turnover last year was £63.9m, with Mitsubishi and Saab – which have both been in the company’s portfolio for more than 20 years – contributing around 18%.

Carey says the company is working with Saab to find a new operator for its Westwick Street site, and will continue to operate it as usual until that point.

He adds: “We are also trying to set up a management buyout for the Mitsubishi franchise, but if that doesn’t happen then we will work with Mitsubishi to find an alternative operator.”

The reorganization could lead to some redundancies but Carey hopes these will be minimized by staff switching to the new franchise holders or being redeployed within the Holden Group.

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