Donald Duncan, managing director of Quenby Bros, in Baldock, Hertfordshire, says: “It is sad to lose our only franchise, held since 1989, but we feel cornered.
“We prefer to finance demonstrators ourselves, but have been forced by Subaru to take packages of nine cars, receiving some financial assistance from IM on three of them.
“Subaru’s policy has meant we have been losing money. We have a Tribeca that has done 100 miles, with a list price new of £34,000, in the showroom. Even if we sold it for the £26,995 asking price, we would make a loss.”
Duncan says selling existing Tribecas will be even more difficult after a facelifted and more powerful model made its debut at the New York show earlier this month, ready for launch in the USA this summer. He questions the message this sends to customers when the current model, Subaru’s only SUV offered with seven seats, has been in showrooms in the UK for only the last six months.
He has no plans to seek a new franchise. “We will specialize in selling used Subarus and some other makes, from a stock of 20 to 30 cars,” he says.
The company will operate a used car business in its grade two listed building in Baldock’s High Street. It will close its aftersales premises, situated on a separate site nearby, because Subaru will not allow it to trade as an authorized repairer, says Duncan.
A spokesman for IM Group says: “We don’t wish to comment on the circumstances surrounding any dealer’s termination.”
The AM view
While plenty of owner-driver dealerships seek to sell and get out, for Quenby Bros the future rests as an independent specialist. It can trade on a reputation earned over 18 years with the Subaru franchise, but without the pressure of franchise standards.