The new Washington outlet was originally planned to be a service-only centre. However, on Renault’s suggestion, WSM decided to upscale to a full dealership with an eight car showroom.
The company began trading last September when it bought Worthing Renault, about eight miles from the Washington showroom. It is led by managing director Ian Sexton and operations director Eddie Mansfield. Both have long histories as Nissan dealers, Mansfield with Ancaster Group and Sexton with Yeomans Group.
Mansfield says Worthing achieved a profit in the final few months of 2006 and both businesses look healthy going forward. WSM is targeting 300 new and 400 used car sales per site this year.
“We’re not worried about the two dealerships overlapping because it’s all down to separate marketing. We decided to let Washington target the Brighton area, which leaves Worthing to concentrate on its own territory,” he adds.
Worthing Renault’s former owner, Swan Motor Group, ended a long history in franchised motor retailing last September when it sold its other site, Chichester Renault, to Hemming Automotive.
Founded in Chichester, Swan Motor Group was owned by Stan O’Brien. In 1972, shortly after being joined in the business by his son Terry, O’Brien gained his first franchise with Lancia.
It then changed allegiance to Datsun, replacing that with Renault in 1983. Its Worthing dealership was opened in 1998.