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Westover’s Peugeot sites to grow its turnover to £175m

Westover Group has added Peugeot for the first time with the acquisition of three sites that fit well with its other dealerships along the south coast, said chairman Peter Wood.

The purchase price has not been disclosed.

The Peugeot car/LCV combined sites were the only dealerships owned by George Hartwell and have a combined turnover of around £18 million, said Wood. This takes Westover’s network to 21 dealerships and its turn-over to £175 million.

Wood said Andrew Hartwell, managing director of George Hartwell, decided to dispose of the dealerships, and Peugeot wanted to be represented by a larger group with more resources.

Each site – at Poole, Ferndown (near Bournemouth) and Christchurch – is selling around 250 new and 250 used units a year, and Westover is confident of growth.

When the lease on the Peugeot Poole site expires in October, the franchise will be moved to a 2.75-acre Westover site on the outskirts of the town where it already has a Renault dealership.

The group will spend around £1 million on a new Renault showroom, with Peugeot moving into the existing premises. Westover has Toyota and Nissan outlets opposite.

“The dealerships will be on a busy road from Poole to Bournemouth. It is a wealthy area and land prices are close to London levels,” said Wood.

“Peugeot and Renault are happy with the arrangement because they want Westover. Since 1923, the group has built a good reputation for customer service.”

Wood said Renault and Peugeot had been through a difficult time but he believed they were at the bottom of the cycle, and both had new product coming.

“I expect their fortunes to improve,” he added.

The group will seek consolidation and sales growth from 2009 after a period of changes. Westover was forced to leave a site in New Milton when the owner sold it for redevelopment. Its Renault franchise was moved half-a-mile to premises leased from Balmer Lawn.

Westover also operates Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus and Skoda dealerships, and has aftersales and bodyshop centres in Poole and Salisbury.

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