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Chippenham multi-franchises

Chippenham Motor Company has opened a four-brand multi-franchised site, using an open plan showroom layout.

The £2m site, a 3,300 sq ft converted two-storey electronics factory in Chippenham, houses Citroën, Peugeot, Kia and MG Rover franchises and includes a 7,500 sq ft neutral workshop. But it took lengthy six-month negotiations for all the carmaker partners to co-operate.

“It was difficult to get them to agree on the open plan aspect of the multi-franchise site,” says Chippenham Motor Company managing director Stephen Andrews. “We wanted an open feel and it has worked out very well. The customer response has been excellent.”

The site is expected to sell 2,000 new and used cars a year. Chippenham’s original Citroen site is now a Seat dealership and its MGR site has become a used car centre. The group, which also has a standalone Kia showroom, is in talks with another carmaker to replace MGR at the multi-franchised site. It expects to sign a contract within the next two months.

“I think block exemption has opened up the path . However it has caused a lot of costs and given manufacturers a lot of power due to the showroom standards they can set,” says Andrews.

“Any dealer considering multi-franchising needs to have all the available information to hand. If you use the right terminology with the manufacturers you tend to get better results.”

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