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Management acquires two-site Preston Group

The management team of Hillendale Land Rover in Nelson, Lancashire, have bought out the Preston Group in order to take ownership of the site.

Lee Collins (managing director), John Kerr (financial director), Ian Chadwick (aftersales manager) and Dennis Smith (sales director) purchased the business for a seven- figure sum. “It has great potential and we see it as a fantastic opportunity to build on our past success,” says Collins.

Last year, Hillendale Land Rover reported a turnover of £22m, which Collins says will increase to £25m in 2006. “We also aim to sell 550 new and 350 used cars this year. We’ll also be looking to consolidate our place in the market and will look to grow the business from new models, such as the Freelander 2,” he says.

“We are continuously represented in the top 10 Land Rover dealers in the country and this is due to the quality of our staff and marketing – there is nothing intrinsically good about Nelson as a location.”

Hillendale Land Rover will continue to trade under the same name and all staff have been kept on. Previously, Collins told AM of his plans to make the Preston Group, which also has a BMW dealership, into a high-end retail operation selling items such as hi-fis.

“Unfortunately, those plans were hindered by internal family matters,” says Collins. “But there is still a site adjacent to Preston’s BMW dealership for which there is planning permission. It will be developed in Q2 next year.”

In the future, Collins hopes to expand the Land Rover business to include other franchises. “We have a great working relationship with the PAG group, but we wouldn’t exclude working with anyone else when the time is right,” he says.

From left to right: Dennis Smith (Land Rover); Jon Armitage (Moore and Smalley); John Kerr (Land Rover); Lee Collins (Land Rover); Ian Chadwick (Land Rover); and Keith Melling (Ricksons)

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