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Hemming acquires Renault site

Richard Hemming, a former director of Ford Retail, has bought a failing Renault dealership in Chichester, West Sussex, and plans to develop a group of up to five outlets with the carmaker.

Hemming, 54, recently returned to the UK after working abroad with Ford retail for several years. He started his career at a Renault dealership in Birmingham 30 years ago and says he wanted to return to the brand.

He bought the assets of the five-year-old 15,000 sq ft outlet outright from Swan Garages, which had encountered trading difficulties.

The site, renamed Hemming Automotive, has a six-bay workshop, a Renault Minute fast-fit facility and a parts department that supplies other garages in the area.

Hemming believes the £12m turnover business has the potential for sales to grow by at least 25% once it has been stabilized and redecorated.

“I have wanted to be my own boss for some time, and this dealership is in a good position in a wealthy town,” he says. All 34 members of staff have been retained.

Hemming first worked for Mermaid Motors in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, which was part of the old Smithfield Group. Later, he was a founding director of Ford Retail, which the manufacturer formed by acquiring Quartic Group from receivers.

Quartic was formed from three Ford dealers – Brunel of Bristol, Heartlands of Birmingham and Atlantic of Wilmslow. Hemming says he made Brunel profitable, and was asked by Ford Retail to work at outlets in Vienna, Brussels and Innsbruck.

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