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Vantage buys MG Rover site

North-west dealer Vantage Group has acquired the MG Rover-owned dealership at Preston’s Riversway Motorpark for £2.9 million and will now refranchise it as a Toyota dealership.

Vantage will invest £300,000 refurbishing the site, which will feature a 10-car showroom and 14-bay workshop together with a larger space for used cars. It is aiming for monthly sales of around 100 new and used cars.

The new site will replace the group’s existing West End Toyota dealership in Preston, which operates across a split site and will be branded Vantage Toyota Preston to bring it in line with existing Toyota dealerships in Blackburn and Colne.

“We are delighted to have completed this acquisition,” says Mark Bowie, chairman of Vantage Group.

“Our strategic plan is to continue to expand our operations in the north west by developing more dealerships using the Toyota and Vauxhall brands.”

Of the 27 staff, Vantage has made nine mainly administration and group roles redundant but will continue to offer an MG Rover aftersales service as it looks to convert these customers into Toyota owners.

“We want to increase our used car business, and the new facility allows us to do this with greater space for vehicles,” says Bowie.

The Preston location was the last dealership that remained trading following the collapse of MG Rover and its dealer operation, Phoenix Venture Motors, which originally had 11 sites across the UK.

“Each site was dealt with on an individual basis,” says a PricewaterhouseCoopers spokesperson.

“That part of the asset realization has finished. Now we need to deal with the claims from creditors,” she adds.

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