AM Online

Hartwell continues to downsize

Hartwell group has refuted industry speculation that it is shrinking its motor retail business in order to refocus on property.

According to the latest AM100, the company has sold or relinquished 19 dealerships over the past year. Turnover has dropped £175m to £500m, sliding the group from the UK’s 13th largest motor retailer to its 17th.

A spokesman says: “We’re happy with our current partners (Vauxhall, Ford, Citroën, Peugeot, Land Rover, Jaguar, Nissan) and we’re looking at other partners that are approaching us. We’re definitely not moving away from our core business, which is retailing cars.

“We are right-sizing the business,” he adds. “We have had to look at our business across the board and have done what we believe other groups will be doing. Anything we felt wasn’t fitting with our core business is being disposed of.”

This week Hartwell sold its Land Rover dealership in St Helen’s to European Motor Holdings for £500,000. EMH has signed a short term lease of the existing showroom.

Hartwell’s closures and disposals have so far included seven Ford businesses, four Vauxhall, four VW, two Audi, one Chrysler and one Citroën.

Those sold no longer fitted geographically or were under performing, says the spokesman. In 2004 it received notice of termination for its four Volkswagen car franchises.VW never revealed the reasons behind the axing.

Hartwell is owned by the Abdul Latif Jameel Company, a global empire including automotive, financial, software and electronics.

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