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East Anglia consolidates

The East Anglian retail sector has seen a flurry of activity over recent weeks with acquisitions, expansion and a management buyout.

Westdrive Kia, one of the manufacturer’s most successful dealers, is expanding into a second showroom in Romford, Essex.

An investment of £1.8m in the purpose-built facility has allowed an extensive model range to be displayed in its 10 car showroom. The Westdrive Romford showroom will complement the already established Westdrive name, offering customers 150 used Kia cars across both sites. Last year, the group’s turnover was £12m, and it expects the acquisition to add £10m to this.

Foursons has completed its management buyout of Holden Mitsubishi in Norwich, following a move by the latter to drop the franchise last December. Heading the new operation is James Jones, who was a dealer principal with the Holden Group for nine years, and Yasmin Jones.

"Mitsubishi has an exciting future. When we met with the Colt Car Company, their enthusiasm was infectious," says Yasmin Jones.

Family-run group Thurlow Nunn, which already owns a Saab operation in King’s Lynn, has acquired the Saab franchise for Norwich. Operating out of the group’s existing Chevrolet site in Hall Road, the new dealership includes a parts and service centre as well as new and used car sales.

Current annual turnover is £70m. The latest addition to the group is expected to bring this figure to £73m.

Thurlow Nunn already owns a Saab site in King’s Lynn. After the acquisition of the Warwick Shubrook group of dealerships in July 2005, the group has grown to one of the largest in East Anglia, with 12 sites representing seven franchises.

Meanwhile, Suffolk-based John Banks Group has acquired a third Honda site with the purchase of Cambridge Honda from the Priory Motor Group. Honda is seen as an integral part of the businesses growth and the new Cambridge dealership is now its only solus site for Honda.

"Our policy is to only sell Japanese cars. They’re reliable, good quality products and our customers love them," says managing director Mark Banks.

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