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Wests buys failed Swan outlet

Renault dealer Wests of Cambridge has bought the assets of Norfolk Renault dealer Swan Street Motors after it ceased trading without warning ealier this month.

Business recovery specialists from PricewaterhouseCoopers were at the Scania Way site in King’s Lynn, also home to Swan Street’s Nissan outlet, on May 3 but customers were left uncertain for more than a week whether the business had gone into liquidation or whether negotiations with potential buyers would be successful.

The closure prompted Nissan to terminate its dealer agreement with Swan Street and refer customers to their next nearest Nissan franchisee, JL Holmes in Wisbech St Mary.

Nissan and Renault have both assured Swan Street’s customers with outstanding orders that they will receive their cars. A number were initially concerned that they would not receive cars they had paid for.

Uncertainty about the company’s trading position had prompted Norfolk Trading Standards to begin enquiries. A source at another franchised dealer in King’s Lynn claims that rumours had been cirulating for some time that Swan Street Motors was in financial difficulty but it was continuing to take orders.

The company, which had traded in King’s Lynn for several decades, previously also had Kia and Mazda franchises; these were taken over by EMG Group last year.

PricewaterhouseCoopers says it was officially appointed as administrator on May 11, although its staff had been working with Swan Street Motors since it ceased trading on May 3. It says the company had endured “a period of significant trading difficulties”.

Its administrators held talks with several dealers, leading to the deal with Wests, which has Renault dealerships in Cambridge, Newmarket and Bedford. Around 29 jobs are understood to have been saved.

“I am pleased we have managed to secure the future of motor trading at the Swan Street site and preserve many jobs from what was a very uncertain position,” says new owner Richard West. The Nissan business and a bodyshop were closed with the loss of 27 jobs.

A statement issued by Swan Street Motors managing director Richard Greenacre said the closure came “with much regret”.

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