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Swansway rises to 76th in AM100 with acquisition from Inchcape

The acquisition by Swansway Garages of Wrexham Volkswagen was completed in barely a fortnight, the group’s chairman told AM this morning.

Michael Smyth said the group was approached by Inchcape with the offer to sell the dealership and freehold site only at the beginning of the month. As a family-owned business, Swansway was able to act quickly.

The outlet will add around £13m to Swansway’s £116m turnover, pushing the group up 11 places from its 87th ranking in the current AM100. Smyth expects the Wrexham Volkswagen to be profitable.

“We currently have three Audi, two VW Commercial Vehicles and one VW car dealerships so we thought another would fit nicely, and Wrexham is on the edge of our current territory,” he said.

Swansway’s other businesses are in Crewe, Preston, Stoke-On-Trent and Stafford.

“The VW brand is excellent for us. This gives us a bit more volume with VW. There are very few economies of scale in our business but there are some in terms of brand expertise.”

IT systems are being replaced, but Smyth expects no changes to the workforce. He has appointed a new sales manager following the resignation of the previous incumbent prior to the acquisition.

In March, Inchcape agreed with the Office of Fair Trading to sell one of its Volkswagen outlets in Wrexham or Oswestry after concerns were raised about lack of choice for VW owners seeking franchised servicing and repair. The OFT intervened following Inchcape’s acquisition of European Motor Holdings, which left it operating the only two VW franchised dealerships in the North Welsh Marshes.

The undertaking gave the OFT the power to intervene and force Inchcape to sell a business at no minimum cost to a purchaser approved by the OFT, if a sale could not be achieved normally within the OFT’s specified timeframe.

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