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Pendragon has ‘not lost faith’ with Cadillac

Pendragon is working with General Motors to improve the fortunes of Cadillac after a disappointing year.

The American brand had hoped to reach breakeven by the end of the year, but is understood to be still off the mark. Pendragon, the sole UK distributor, opened the first Cadillac dealership in November 2004 and has built a network of 12 outlets.

“We have not lost faith in Cadillac, and it’s still early days,” says Trevor Finn, Pendragon chief executive.

“Our investment has gone into the dealerships and there is no question of closing any of them. “We expect a lift in Cadillac’s fortunes in 2007. Next year’s arrival of the SRX will reinvigorate the brand, and we are looking to GM to make it clearer in the minds of potential customers where the Cadillac brand sits.”

Reacting to industry speculation, Finn says Pendragon has no plans to close Houghton House, which was Reg Vardy’s headquarters, and is located on a business park at Sunderland.

It houses group contract hire, fleet and a number of sales operations, which are now partially integrated with their equivalents at Pendragon. Sources suggest Finn is poised to make 36 staff redundant.

“We employ around 350 people there and intend to change the staffing structure,” says Finn. “To comply with employment laws, we will make all who have the same job title redundant.

“That could mean, for example, four secretaries being made redundant, and they would be invited to apply for three posts.

“But that does not necessarily mean we are reducing the headcount, because we will be employing new people in additional roles.”

Pendragon expects to dispose of four dealerships (three Vauxhall, one Land Rover) by next spring to conform with an undertaking given to the Office of Fair Trading following the acquisition of Reg Vardy.

Finn says: “We have not yet disposed of any dealerships and we are continuing with a review. A number of factors are involved, and we realize this is unsettling. I expect this to be resolved by next spring.”

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