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Former AM top retailer quits trade

Whites Group this week exited vehicle retailing following protracted discussions with a number of suitors over a two-year period.

Chairman Lindsay Levin says the group will retains its four bodyshops – Reading, Wimbledon, Croydon and Farnborough – and will now focus on growing its non-motor activities, including property development and dental equipment.

Colbornes has acquired Whites’ Audi business in Camberley, adding to its Volkswagen outlets in Guildford and Woking.

Basingstoke-based Martins Group has purchased the adjacent Volkswagen dealership, taking its Volkswagen portfolio to three car and one LCV franchise. Martins also has Audi, MG Rover and Nissan sites.

Over the past two years, Whites, a former top 80 AM100 retailer, has also sold Volks-wagen dealerships in Croydon and Wimbledon, and an Audi site in Wimbledon.

At its height three years ago, the group turned over £91m and employed more than 400 staff. In 1998 it won the AM dealer of the year award.

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