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AM POWER LIST 2006

Eighteen carmakers, 18 franchised dealers, 11 trade bodies, 10 Government representatives, five fleets and two accident repairers: these are among the people making up the 2006 AM Power List – the ones who we believe are most likely to affect the UK motor industry over the next 12 months.

Agree/disagree? We look forward to hearing your comments.

  • Click on the appropriate numbers to skip to the top 10.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

    100: Tim Richmond, Arden Partners


    Top automotive sector analyst working at Arden Partners who advises leading motor retailers, including Pendragon, on corporate finance and city issues. Broad experience and knowledge of the sector.

    99: Avril Palmer-Baunack, Universal Salvage MD


    Pivotal role to play with new End of Life Vehicle regulations in collecting and recycling used cars. Universal Salvage’s fortunes have been turned around under Palmer-Baunack’s stewardship.

    98: RE-ENTRY Chris Etherington, Unipart


    Leading aftermarket parts and equipment supplier in the UK. Has network of Car Care Centres and provides logistics services.

    97: NEW ENTRY Graeme Cassidy, Exxon Mobil


    National account sales manager at UK division of world’s largest oils and lubricants company. Brands like Esso and Mobil are known to all. Developing new technologies that offer opportunities to carmakers and dealers alike.

    96: NEW ENTRY Barry Whittles, Just Car Clinics chief executive


    Second largest independent bodyshop chain with 13 outlets. Whittles wants to acquire more.

    95: NEW ENTRY Which? magazine


    Investigation into car service and repair sector instigated the National Consumer Council to threaten the super- complaint. Publishes car reliability surveys and review guides which influence car buyers. Has also investigated warranties issue.

    94: NEW ENTRY Peter Wylie, PricewaterhouseCoopers


    PwC’s automotive team leader takes control when dealer groups become insolvent or go into receivership. Publishes automotive financial review, which assesses industry viability.

    93: NEW ENTRY Garry Hobson, Masterlease managing director


    Responsible for sourcing and managing a fleet of 100,000 vehicles offering contract purchase, contract hire and personal motoring plans. Disposals and upfront discounts affect residuals.

    92: NEW ENTRY Phil Carter, Carter & Carter


    Floated the group last year and has made a number of acquisitions, including the Emtec training business and ASSA Training and Learning. Runs programmes for several carmakers, including Land Rover and Jaguar.

    91: David Cresswell, ABP Club


    Gathering strength with the ABP Club, founded in October 2004. Membership includes leading bodyshops, insurance companies and suppliers. Aims are to tackle body repair issues at board level and find acceptable solutions.

    90: Garel Rhys, Cardiff Business School


    Respected industry analyst, director of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research and IMI president. Frequently sought for his views on big issues.

    89: Alan Begg, Automotive Academy chief executive


    Decides how to spend the £12m DTI grant over five years (2004-09). Begg’s role is key to addressing skills gap in automotive manufacturing and he aims to raise competitiveness and productivity of UK carmakers.

    88: NEW ENTRY Roger Knight, Marshalls Group chief executive


    Runs influential East of England regional retail business and sits on the DTI Retail Motor Strategy Group. Will help define industry’s response to 2010 Block Exemption review.

    87: NEW ENTRY Joe Greenwell, PAG/FoE vice president, Government Affairs


    Former Jaguar and Land Rover chief executive, now driving the agenda for Ford with UK and European governments. Highly influential and respected throughout global motor industry.

    86: NEW ENTRY Prof Daniel Jones, chairman Lean Enterprise Academy


    A management thought leader and advisor on applying lean process thinking in the retail and manufacturing sectors. Helped establish the ICDP and is influencing how retailers operate.

    85: NEW ENTRY Daniel Burgess, HPI automotive board director


    Vehicle information provider that operates Exchange used car marketing and stock management service. Has 14,500 franchised and independent dealers on its books.

    84: NEW ENTRY Martin Hall, Finance and Leasing Association


    This year published research into the falling point of sale finance penetration and is calling for accreditation or minimum operational standards for dealership staff to boost customer confidence.

    83: Nigel Ruddock, Grant Thornton


    Advises many AM100 groups on policy and also takes control of selling or closing dealers that are in administration. Likely to be busy this yeat.

    82: Martin Bohling, Courland Automotive Practice


    Has helped countless manufacturers, suppliers and retailers find the right senior management. Wants to contribute to industry’s long-term success by improving skills through executive search, HR and consultancy.

    81: Sue Brownson OBE, Blue Bell BMW managing director


    Sits on numerous boards such as Automotive Skills and the DTI RMSG. A senior automotive boss highly respected by her peers.

    80: Rob Whalley Experian


    Global information provider that carries out car data checks and database analysis. Recent contracts won with Honda and Volkswagen.

    79: NEW ENTRY Richard Palmer, EMH chief executive


    One of the UK’s fastest growing groups last year with turnover up more than £300m. Now the UK’s ninth largest retailer and with an enviable range of premium franchises.

    78: NEW ENTRY John Russell, Harley-Davidson


    Brand guru who understands the importance of staying close to, and in touch with, customers. Also a leader in training.

    77: Michael Wilmshurst, Nationwide Crash Repair Centres managing director


    UK’s largest bodyshop group with 70 outlets, turning over £140m. Wilmshurst is keen to be in the vanguard of new strategies and will look at any suggestions – as long as it makes money.

    76: Max Moseley, Euro NCAP chairman


    All manufacturers adhere to NCAP crash tests, now extended to head restraint tests, as they bid for maximum stars on occupant and pedestrian safety. Has implications for car design with pop-up bonnets latest innovation.

    75: RE-ENTRY Ron Sewell, Automotive Fellowship


    At the forefront of best practice during a distinguished career. Still highly influential through his Automotive Fellowship club.

    74: Paul Jarvis, Glass’s managing director


    Vying with CAP for control of the residual forecasting and valuations market. Part of Eurotaxglass’s, which was put up for sale by parent Lion Capital last year. Launched service to define best time to sell short-cycle cars.

    73: Prof Jim Saker, Loughborough University


    Training guru who heads the Centre for Automotive Management and Car Dealership of the Future project.

    72: Philippe Talou-Derible, Renault UK managing director


    Outspoken MD who saw Renault sales fall 7.7% last year. Looking to regain ground this year.

    71: Mark Norman, CAP Monitor editor


    Leading residuals guides guru who influences carmakers and dealers through the Black Book price guide. Also provides data for DMS products.

    70: NEW ENTRY Duncan Wilkes, Nationwide Autocentres chief executive


    Heads the UK’s largest independent service and repair business with 212 outlets after leading buy-out team in February. Looking to make more acquisitions.

    69: Brian Smith, Continental


    Continental is getting close to the manufacturers as it targets growth with franchised dealers. Smith is a board member of the Tyre Industry Federation.

    68: John Lewis, BVRLA director general


    Boss of influential British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, which provides trading assistance, financial benefits, training and information to fleet industry. Members’ fleets total more than 2.6m vehicles.

    67: Paul Williams, Kia Motors UK


    Last year Kia’s sales rose by almost 19%, a point that has attracted Pendragon and Arnold Clark to the network. It now takes a 1.63% market share.

    66: NEW ENTRY Gerard Nieuwenhuys, Sytner group managing director


    The man driving forward strategy for Sytner in the UK. Now a £1.633bn group, the UK’s third largest, with aspirations to grow further. Focus is with premium brands.

    65: NEW ENTRY Pierre Louis Colin, Peugeot UK chief executive


    Replaces Christian Gerard and has fresh approach, say dealers. Seen sales rise 1.6% this year.

    64: Maurice Howkins, Vauxhall Fleet Sales director


    Responsible for Vauxhall’s huge fleet sales operation, the biggest of any UK carmaker. Last year it accounted for 218,035 fleet and 26,035 business sales, 77% of Vauxhall’s total sales.

    63: NEW ENTRY Ian Fraser, Kwik-Fit managing director


    Fast-fit boss rumoured to be interested in warranty repairs and servicing. UK network of 669 sites and 206 mobile units, and has around 800 sites in mainland Europe.

    62: NEW ENTRY Jon Walden, Lex Vehicle Leasing managing director


    Responsible for the UK’s largest leasing company with a fleet of 178,000 vehicles. At the forefront of fleet issues such as congestion charging and residual values.

    61: NEW ENTRY Wilfried Steffen, DCUK president/CEO


    Responsible for Mercedes-Benz and ChryslerJeep, with a combined market share last year of just under 4%. Dodge to follow in the summer. Policy decisions affect 228 dealers.

    60: NEW ENTRY Geoffrey Podger, HSE chief executive


    Aims to protect workers against risks to health or safety arising out of work activities; to conduct and sponsor research; promote training; and submit proposals for new regulations.

    59: NEW ENTRY Bin Haga, Summit chief executive


    Controls UK group owned by Sumitomo, which has global relationships with Toyota, Mazda and Mitsubishi. No34 in AM100.

    58: Mike Betts, Motability Operations chief executive


    Manages a fleet of 425,000 – the biggest in Europe. Influences residual values through in-house disposal operation and channels everything through 3,500 Motability-accredited dealerships. Still expanding.

    57: Brian Spratt, ADF chief executive


    Automotive Distribution Federation boss continues to lobby European Commission over liberalization of the supply of independent aftermarket parts.

    56: Ray Sommerville, Perrys managing director


    Advocate of quality training (former AM winner) and service. Also focus on finance and used cars ensures strong results.

    55: RE-ENTRY Tony Woodley, TGWU general secretary


    Association has more than 835,000 members. Woodley is high profile and last year was involved in disputes concerning Land Rover, DCUK, Ford, Vauxhall and MG Rover.

    54: NEW ENTRY Ivan Hodac, ACEA secretary general


    European carmakers association that has a big role to play in future Block Exemption discussions. Represents 13 European car, truck and bus manufacturers.

    53: Nigel Stead, Lloyds TSB Autolease managing director


    Wields great influence with carmakers with more than 130,000 vehicles on the fleet. Offers car ownership schemes through Whitechapel, broker deals and Fleet Sense, which helps fleets manage health and safety.

    52: John Whiteman, ICDP project leader


    Heads International Car Distribution Programme, which is respected throughout Europe for its research – including studies on impact of Block Exemption.

    51: NEW ENTRY Brendan Devine, GE Motor Money Finance managing director


    Motor player in the automotive finance market. Recognizes that there needs to be greater transparency for consumers for motor retailers to combat threat from high street lenders.

    50: Maurice Rourke, Dutton Forshaw managing director


    Parent company Lloyds TSB has deep pockets; Rourke is likely to use them as he builds Dutton Forshaw. Set target as 50 sites (currently 23). Also helps Lloyds improve residuals on fleet cars through remarketing.

    49: Phillip Maskell, RAA chairman, Essex Ford managing director


    Head 22-strong group of retailers under the Retail Automotive Alliance with a combined turnover of more than £2bn. Seeks increased buying power and protection against nationals.

    48: NEW ENTRY Steve Settle, Lexus GB managing director


    Lexus regularly tops consumer and dealer surveys. Looking to raise sales from 10,548 to 16,000 – a 50% increase – this year.

    47: NEW ENTRY Tom Woolgrove, Capital Bank MD


    Played major role in dealer discussions following collapse of MG Rover. Woolgrove is looking at products, training and pricing (commission and incentives) to help dealers combat the threat of high street lenders.

    46: Jerry Fowden, Trader Media Group chief executive


    Heads Auto Trader and is spearheading drive into new cars. Also launching vehicle provenance and mileage checking business.

    45: Jon Olsen, BCA chief executive officer


    UK and Europe’s largest auction firm, which also offers range of remarketing services, including smart repairs and logistics. Significant investment in facilities and opened UK’s biggest auction centre (25 acres) last year at Bedford.

    44: NEW ENTRY John Woolley, Black Horse MD


    Replaced Phil Stones this year as boss of UK’s largest independent motor finance provider. Keen to see retailers regain market share.

    43: John Bailey, Manheim chief executive


    UK’s second biggest auction firm, but world’s largest thanks to American parent. Bailey is bringing lots of new innovations to the UK from America, and is likely to set up a technology centre to showcase new practices.

    42: Tony Leigh, ACFO chairman


    Heads leading fleet association and represents the views of a large proportion of fleet decision makers who are responsible for more than half the new car market. Consulted by government agencies, motor manufacturers and fleet suppliers.

    41: Roger Putnam, DTI RMSG chairman


    SMMT president and former chairman of Ford who also chairs the DTI Retail Motor Strategy Group. Progress has sped up since his chairmanship.

    40: NEW ENTRY Richard Lambert, director general of the CBI


    Replacing Sir Digby Jones this month, Richard Lambert is a former Financial Times editor who also sits on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee.

    39: Douglas Robertson, SMTA

    br> Revived the Scottish dealer association and stopped losses by setting up schemes to appeal to members, such as pre-apprentice programme.

    38: NEW ENTRY Xavier Duchemin, Citroën UK MD


    Replaced Alain Favey last year. Is looking to strike up a better rapport with dealers, but has no plans to deviate from big front end retail discounts. Looking to raise market share.

    37: Graham Smith, Toyota GB MD


    Toyota and Lexus are gaining market share every year. Major focus on hybrid vehicles, while Smith also heads the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership.

    36: Peter Roberts, Thatcham chief executive


    The most important man in accident repair? Driving forward standards by developing the bodyshop industry Kitemark PAS 125 with BSI. Also sets car insurance rankings and calculates crash repair times.

    35: NEW ENTRY Bill Ford, Rick Wagoner, chairmen and CEOs of Ford and General Motors.


    The financial weakness of both companies must be of serious concern to retailers. Both men are fighting against efficiency issues, overcapacity, high costs and falling car sales in the USA.

    34: Robin Woolcock, head of VW UK


    Oversees decisions affecting VW, Škoda, Seat, Audi and Bentley businesses in the UK, with more than 600 dealers and a market share of 13.79%.

    33: NEW ENTRY Keith Sayfritz, RMI president/Greenhous MD


    Boss of AM100 top 20 Greenhous, which turns over £535m from 10 sites. Also president of the RMIF, helping to drive forward policy at the industry trade association. Sayfritz retires from that position in the summer.

    32: Chris Hayden, Ford Retail Europe director


    Heads 49-strong retail group in the UK, formed from acquisition of Dagenham Motors and Quartic. Also has sites in Europe.

    31: Paul Dunkley, Camden Motors managing director


    Billion-pound turnover group with huge fleet business handling 65,000 cars a year. Has 21 sites and four Car Shop operations.

    30: Ken Keir, Honda UK MD, Honda Motor Europe VP


    Widely respected executive who has good relations with retailers. Assessing standards burden with review of operational processes.

    29: NEW ENTRY Anne Boyd, BSI product services managing director


    Launched the PAS 80 last year, which has found favour with the National Consumer Council. If backed by the industry, the BSI Kitemark could become the key standard for service and repair.

    28: NEW ENTRY Alan Johnson MP, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry


    Seen by many as a key reason why the Labour Government now has a better understanding of the automotive industry. A former member of the TUC general council.

    27: NEW ENTRY Hiroshi Okuda, Toyota Motor Corporation chief executive officer


    Toyota, under the guidance of Hiroshi Okuda, will continue to lead the agenda not only on production, but also on product and, increasingly, on distribution efficiency.

    26: Mervyn King, Bank of England and chairman of Monetary Policy Committee


    In charge of setting interest rates, which have a major impact on consumer confidence and hold the key to the strength of the economy. Rates are expected to lower slightly in the second half.

    25: NEW ENTRY John Tiner, FSA chief executive


    Responsible for the FSA regulations on selling/advising of insurance-based products that have caused concern for adding cost and confusion. Has started barring dealers from selling insurance for non-conformities.

    24: Ben Rimmington, DTI Automotive Unit director


    Heads the DTI unit, which works with carmakers and retailers to promote best practice. Helps UK automotive industry succeed by influencing the regulations and tax policy so that they reflect the interests of the sector.

    23: Alistair Darling, secretary of state for transport


    Advocate for alternative fuels and car sharing, Alistair Darling is committed to ensuring that 5% of all fuel sold at petrol stations will come from a renewable energy source by 2010. Keen to launch pay-as-you-drive road charging.

    22: Patricia Richards, Automotive Skills


    Heads the sector skills council, which is charged with identifying and reducing skills shortages, and attracting new recruits into the industry.

    21: Paolo Cesarini, head of DG Competition


    Cesarini is keen to look closely at the development of multi-brand dealerships and repair services – in particular at rising franchise standards and the operation of renumeration structures that act as a loyalty mechanism.

    20: NEW ENTRY Paul Willis, VW MD


    VW exerts the greatest amount of control over retailers of any carmaker, according to dealers. Faces accusations over standards, audits and CSI tactics.

    19: Sarah Sillars, IMI chief executive


    One of the hardest working executives in the industry. Sillars’ commitment was key to getting the Automotive Technician Accreditation scheme off the ground. Also chairs DTI Retail Motor Strategy Group’s Skills ‘Sherpa’.

    18: NEW ENTRY Ken Surgenor, Lookers chief executive


    Now in charge of the strategic direction of the business with chairman Fred Maguire taking more of a back seat. Lookers under Ken Surgenor is now facing its biggest challenge – withstanding the hostile bid by Pendragon.

    17: NEW ENTRY John Fingleton, OFT chief executive


    John Fingleton is the man responsible with ensuring car companies adhere to the Block Exemption regulations. He is also the man who grants Code of Practice status for industry standards.

    16: Eamon Bradley, Jardine Motors chairman


    Jardine has undergone two years of consolidation and it is now well positioned to expand with premium brands like Audi, BMW and Lexus.

    15: NEW ENTRY Steve Brooker, National Consumer Council


    Threatened a super-complaint against the service and repair industry last year and has extended the deadline until September for a Code of Practice to undergo Stage One OFT approval. Steve Brooker will be keeping a close watch on developments – there’s no room for complacency. He wants all motorists to have access to a garage that operates to a code of practice by September 2007 and plans to clampdown on rogue operators by backing Trading Standards’ investigations, which start in January 2007.

    14: Matthew Carrington, RMIF chief executive


    Matthew Carrington reorganized the RMIF last year, which saw several high profile redundancies. The new, streamlined structure should move the association closer to its members, but he still needs to reconcile differences of opinion between some members of the various divisions. Also has pensions deficit to manage, but the RMIF has a vital role to play in discussions leading up to the Block Exemption review in 2010 and in forming an industry Code of Practice for service and repair. A partner with AM in autoretailing convention.

    13: Sir Arnold Clark, chairman Arnold Clark Automobiles


    Arnold Clark Automobiles dominates the retail and aftersales scene in Scotland with 130 outlets that are gradually creeping south of Hadrian’s Wall. Despite a recent hip operation, Sir Arnold still exerts his control over the £1.7m turnover business and has no plans to slow down. Further growth is targeted in England as the UK’s second largest car retail group acquires lots of land for possible developments. Return on sales topped 3% last year. Sir Arnold was this year inaugurated into the AM Hall of Fame.<:p>

    12: Chris Macgowan, SMMT


    Started to formulate Code of Practice for the service and repair sector this year, which is now set to become an industry code (Motor Industry Service and Repair Code of Practice, under Stage One approval review by the OFT). Chris Macgowan sees the SMMT as the industry body – one that provides leadership on behalf of everyone in the motor industry. He canvasses the views of the industry and takes them to the heart of the Government and Europe. Expect Macgowan to play a leading role during consultations over Block Exemption 2010.

    11: Carlos Ghosn, Renault president/chief executive, Nissan chief executive


    Arguably the industry’s most respected executive, Ghosn refuses to make cars that do not make a profit, which will see changes in model line-up at Renault similar to those at Nissan, where a focus on 4x4 and niche vehicles came to prominence. Plans to boost performance in the same way as he did during four years in Japan heading Nissan – a shake-up of Renault country heads in Europe is rumoured.

    10: The Consumer


    How can any business not be influenced by consumers? High expectations have forced all companies to raise their customer standards – people are more likely to shop around and are less loyal in the face of poor service. The internet has created more choice and retailers have to work harder to retain business – both sales and aftersales. Nobody wants the bad publicity that comes through media campaigns or the Consumers’ Association, both fuelled by unsatisfied customers. Their bad experiences also persuaded the DTI-funded National Consumer Council to investigate the service and repair sector (see No15).

    09: NEW ENTRY Chris Bowden, DTI Retail Motor Strategy Group


    Chris Bowden heads the highly influential Retail Motor Strategy Group, launched in 2002, which includes the leading industry executives from carmakers, retailers and trade bodies on its panel. RMSG, chaired by former Ford of Britain chairman Roger Putnam, has three ‘Sherpa’ groups focusing on skills, customers/codes of practice and Europe/Block Exemption. It is the only formal occasion where dealers and manufacturers sit together to discuss industry issues. Also helped to get the SMMT and RMIF to work together on the industry code of practice.

    08: Andre Lacroix, Inchcape group chief executive


    Appointed in January, replacing Peter Johnson who becomes chairman, Lacroix heads a global business with strong partnerships with Toyota/Lexus, Subaru, Ferrari/Maserati, BMW, Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, Mazda and Volkswagen. It’s the fifth largest car retail group in the UK, turning over £1.49bn from almost 80 sites, and has operations in Hong Kong, Greece, Belgium, Russia, Australia and Singapore. Employing more than 10,000 people worldwide, Inchcape’s activities include import, distribution and retail, business services, e-commerce and financial services.

    07: NEW ENTRY Roger Penske, United Auto Group chairman


    Roger Penske heads an international retail group with businesses in America (UAG: 165 sites, £5.24bn turnover, and Penske Automotive: seven sites, £839m turnover), the UK (Sytner Group, 92 sites, £1.63bn turnover), Germany (29 sites), Mexico (two sites) and Puerto Rico (14 sites). His objective is to be the most profitable, growth-oriented automotive retailer in each of the markets in which UAG operates. Penske intends to expand through targeted acquisitions, best practice and customer service. Sytner has invested more than £100m in facilities since acquisition by UAG in 2002.

    06: NEW ENTRY Neelie Kroes, EC commissioner for competition


    Will oversee consultations about any changes to the Block Exemption regulations in 2010 after replacing Mario Monti two years ago. Talks will start in earnest next year. The renewal or abolition of Block Exemption will have a major impact on motor retailing in the UK. Kroes has three objectives: to ensure companies do not carve up markets or fix prices among themselves; to ensure mergers/takeovers do not unfairly restrict competition; and to guarantee that taxpayers’ money is used to pursue desirable objectives without distorting competition.

    05: NEW ENTRY Roelant de Waard, Ford UK chairman and MD


    Appointed in February, Roelant de Waard combines the two roles that were split after the retirement of Ian McAllister in 2002. His role within Ford is crucial to the future direction, performance and profitability of so many of the UK’s dealers. Ford’s sales and market share have been falling for a number of years (2005: 347,551, down 5.34% for a 14.25% market share) but de Waard is confident the situation has stabilized for the company, which this year hopes to celebrate its 30th year as UK No1 new car seller. He has already consulted dealers and says they are optimistic about the business.

    04: Jim O’Donnell, BMW UK managing director


    Outspoken, no-nonsense Jim O’Donnell has reacted to criticism over tough dealer controls by launching an assessment into operational demands placed by BMW on its network. As a result, BMW has so far this year slashed £10m of cost from the retail network’s overheads. The industry is waiting to see what happens when BMW’s five-year franchise contracts end in 2008 – will the current operators retain all their franchises or will O’Donnell exert his authority to ensure a balanced network? He will need to reconcile record sales growth with network developments to protect profitability.

    03: Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer


    The future Prime Minister? Probably, but even with that promotion more than a year away, Gordon Brown still exerts considerable influence over the automotive industry. His policies impact on car buyers through personal taxation, fuel, company car tax and interest rates, which ultimately dictate the strength of the economy and consumer confidence. Brown stands accused of burdening the industry with reams of bureaucratic red tape from his car tax revamp announced in the March Budget. But, despite a growing number of critics, Brown’s UK has enjoyed a sustained period of stability.

    02: Bill Parfitt, Vauxhall managing director


    Parfitt has one of the widest job remits in the industry: sales, marketing and customer service for Vauxhall, Saab and Chevrolet in the UK and Ireland; General Motors Europe fleet, used vehicle and commercial vehicle operations; and MD of Vauxhall. In Vauxhall, he oversees the second largest UK carmaker. He brought together GM’s three UK brands to form a solus approach to fleet and has consolidated some back office functions to improve efficiency. Dealers are watching to see, in the words of one, “if size matters and Bill is the one to enforce manufacturer control”.

    01: Trevor Finn, Pendragon chief executive


    Trevor Finn returns to the top spot after another year of acquisitions. This time a year ago he had 262 dealerships, turning over £3.173bn. Now, thanks largely to the purchase of Reg Vardy, he has 380 franchised outlets turning over more than £5bn.

    He aspires to control 10% of the new car market (he’s currently at around 6%) and has a dominant relationship with Jaguar – 38 sites; 36% of the network; more than half its sales volume – Land Rover with 30 of its 130 sites (23%) and Vauxhall, with 12% of the network.

    Finn has set up 12 Cadillac dealerships after taking on solus distributorship in the UK. He also has 12 franchises operating out of nine outlets in the US and five sites/10 franchises in Germany. With an offer for Lookers on the table, Finn will be at the forefront of industry consolidation again this year. His game plan is to have dominance with franchise partners – this gives him influence and buying power. Also chairs the DTI Retail Motor Strategy Group’s Europe/Block Exemption ‘Sherpa’ group.

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