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Extended: Arnold Clark launches prestige car division

Arnold Clark Automobiles has purchased two BMW/Mini dealerships in Scotland as the platform for growth in prestige car sales.

It has acquired Harry Fairbairn Ltd, which was founded in Irvine, Ayrshire, 35 years ago.

A motor industry consultant says: “Arnold Clark has always treated customers as though they are buying or running a prestige brand.

“It has grown on the back of offering a good package at a good price, and manages a 3% margin while others struggle to achieve 1.5%. There is every reason to believe that BMW and the prestige market will prove to be a new strong territory for Arnold Clark.”

Arnold Clark Automobiles declined to comment on the strategy behind its latest acquisition although it also operates three Lexus franchises and is known to be keen to grow its representation with premium brands.

One reason for buying Harry Fairbairn was its continuing investment – it opened an aftersales development at the Glasgow site last month. Some of the group’s 150 employees have been associated with the BMW franchise for more than 20 years, and 30% have worked for the dealer for over a decade.

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