Chief executive Ken Surgenor has agreed to strengthen the manufacturer’s presence in the north west of England by opening dealerships in Macclesfield and Stockport, not far from Lookers’ headquarters in Manchester.
“We are certain that by bringing Kia to our network of dealerships we will be complementing our existing portfolio of franchises,” says Surgenor. “It is a dynamic brand that is launching some fantastic new models.”
Lookers is likely to increase its representation with Kia if suitable open points are found and the present businesses are successful. Kia Motors UK revealed to AM in November 2005 that it had been courting Lookers, but at that point early talks had stalled as it could not agree on suitable locations for the publicly listed dealer group to take over.
That was some five months after the carmaker sealed franchise partnerships with three of the UK’s biggest dealer groups – Pendragon, Reg Vardy and Arnold Clark. They took on 13 outlets between them.
KMUK has been set a target of achieving 100,000 new car registrations by 2010, which means it needs to win over major dealer groups that can guarantee large volumes and are experienced in fleet sales.
It recently scaled down its target for dealer locations to 175 by the end of 2007, from its original goal of having 180 by the end of this year. However, it remains confident of reaching its 2010 target by attracting the interest of better quality dealers and professionally run dealer groups, which deliver better facilities, sales processes and showroom locations.