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Ribble Valley looks to small-car marques

Blackburn-based Ribble Valley Motors is diversifying into smaller more environmentally-friendly models after its Bentley franchise was terminated.

It will now sell nearly-new and used Bentleys along with manufacturers such as Honda, Vauxhall, Mazda and Fiat.

Paul Piert, Ribble Valley Motors managing director, said the luxury car franchise had been profitable but he felt it would be
more viable as a business model to expand into other marques. 

Streamlining the business has also meant cutting staff from 15 employees to eight. But Piert said this would not affect customer service, with workers carrying out dual roles.

He hopes numbers will increase again as the company grows.

“We don’t just want to be in the upper luxury sector,” said Piert.
“Cars around £5,000-6,000 and those with the lowest tax band are the most successful at the moment and we want to tap into that.” 

It will now source Bentleys and other cars from private owners as well as underwriting cars from other local dealerships. “We have a suite of contacts,” added Piert.

He said there were good turnover and profit margins to be made as an independent dealer. The site will continue to be a Bentley service specialist.

A proposed move to a new location at South Rings in Lancashire West, when Ribble Valley Motors was still a Bentley franchise, has been put on hold. 

Piert said it may use the development for other non-automotive purposes.

  • The company is also launching an internet-only car sales operation next month. Investing £30,000 in the venture, Piert said it would be based at the Blackburn dealership and focus on high-quality vehicles at low prices.

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