Rival East Anglian dealer Marshall Motor Group will begin selling new Fords in three locations from September: King’s Lynn, Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds. The latter two will include commercial vehicles.
The move marks Marshall’s first representation for the Ford brand, although it already counts Volvo, Land Rover and Jaguar franchises from Ford’s Premier Automotive Group among its 42 dealerships. Ford is seeking new car retail partners for the remaining five towns with EMG operations: Haverhill, Spalding, Wisbech, Ely and Thetford.
EMG chairman Ian Barrett says: “We believe that in the medium to long term our group is better served by adopting a multi-franchise strategy rather than staying exclusive to one volume manufacturer.”
EMG gave notice to Ford earlier this year that it will quit the franchise in December 2006. A Ford spokesman says the carmaker is happy with this as it “gives Marshall time to build its business”.
Ultimately, EMG intends to re-franchise all eight showrooms, but it will retain Ford aftersales, parts, Rapid Fit, body repair and CV sales businesses. Franchises most likely to replace Ford include Kia, Hyundai and Proton.
Last November, EMG acquired Kia and Mazda businesses in King’s Lynn from Swan Street Motors, and opened a Subaru/Isuzu outlet in Bury St Edmunds. Kia and Mazda will move to EMG’s three-acre site alongside its Ford showroom later this year.
In Bury St Edmunds, Marshall Ford will occupy a former MG Rover showroom the group has just bought from Ames Group. The Ford outlet in Cambridge will occupy its former MG Rover dealership on Newmarket Road.
Marshall Motor Group chief executive Roger Knight says: “These new territories fit well with our existing businesses.”