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Premium path set by Sunwin

Sunwin Motor Group has set its sights on developing a premium brand business now that the integration of the 15 volume dealerships it bought from Ilkeston Co-Operative Society last year is well under way.

Group general manager Tony Guest outlined his plans as the Bradford-based group, which has more than 25 franchises in Yorkshire and Lancashire, announced a 76% rise in annual turnover to £259m for the year to January 22, 2005, due largely to the addition of the Ilkeston outlets.

Guest won’t give profit figures for Sunwin, which is part of United Co-operatives, however he says they have increased around by a fifth. Total sales were about 15,000 units, split equally between new and used. This year, Guest hopes to retail 20,000 vehicles.

“We budgeted for the year to come in at about break even level. What we inherited with the acquisition of the Ilkeston sites was pretty much a loss-making business, so it was important to stem the losses and breathe new life into it,” says Guest.

“We’ve a good mixture of vehicle manufacturers now. We’re comfortable that we’re with the right partners to move forward in the medium term, but we’re looking to develop the business with a premium brand.” He says he has no preference for a particular brand, but it depends on the opportunity.

United Co-Operatives has a £200m acquisitions budget to support Sunwin and its other non motor-retailing businesses growth opportunities arise.

Patrick Allen, United’s head of marketing, says the group is performing strongly and new management processes, including a £2m investment in DMS, training and business support have improved the former Ilkeston businesses.

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