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Charvill to sell dual site

Charvills, the £28m turnover Hertfordshire dealer group, wants to sell its loss-making dual franchised Citroën/Hyundai outlet at Hoddesdon and focus on General Motors and Mazda as part of a new strategy. Two companies have indicated an interest in the dealership, which opened in June 2004 at a cost of £500,000.

John Charvill, managing director, says the group is reducing costs and hopes later to win Saab and Chevrolet franchises.

Founded in 1946, the group opened its first Vauxhall franchise at Ware in 1961, adding outlets at Harlow and Bishop’s Stortford five years ago. It also has a Mazda dealership in Hertford.

“The past 12 months have been terribly difficult,” says Charvill. “We are not getting the same footfall in our showrooms as in the past because people are doing their own research on the internet.”

Charvills is also close to agreeing terms for the sale of its former Citroën dealership, which opened in 1994 at Thundridge, near Hoddesdon, to a property developer. Permission has been granted to build 13 houses.

Last June, Charvills opened the dual-franchise business at Hoddesdon, saying it needed bigger premises for Citroën, and added Hyundai. The two franchises shared a showroom, with separate sales staff.

“We have lost money at the site over the past 12 months,” says Charvill. “Total told us they intended to close their filling station at Hoddesdon but changed their minds when business increased after we put the two franchises there.

“That meant we could not used the forecourt area for a used car centre as planned, and we were also refused planning permission for a bodyshop there.”

Citroën and Hyundai have been consulted on possible buyers.

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