Glyn Woodage, Harwoods chief executive, said Webbers, purchased for an undisclosed amount, would add around £25 million turnover to the group. In June’s AM100, Harwoods was at 45, with a turnover of £187m.
“The Jaguar and Land Rover franchises were the main attraction,” says Woodage. “Webbers is a good business, selling about 230 new Jaguars a year and more than 300 new Land Rovers.
“We are still evaluating the potential of the Subaru and Isuzu business, but that’s not to say we will necessarily dispose of those franchises.”
Woodage says the culture of the two businesses is similar. Winton Webber, who owned the dealership, is a descendant of the founder of the family business which started trading in around 1900.
Guy Harwood, chairman of his family business, is the son of Wally Harwood, who established the business in 1931 in Pulborough, Hampshire.
Harwoods, which has around 500 employees, operates Land Rover dealerships in Croydon and Edenbridge, Kent, and Jaguar and Aston Martin in Chichester. Three Audi and two Bentley centres are also in the group.
Harwoods was first awarded a Land Rover franchise in 1979, followed by Rolls-Royce/Bentley two years later. In 1984, its Pulborough site was expanded to take Jaguar/Daimler with Rolls-Royce/Bentley.
The first Audi centre (in Portsmouth) was acquired in 2000 from the AFN Group, and the Aston Martin franchise followed two years later.