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Dews adds Ford as expansion quickens

Dews Motor Group, which marks its centenary next year, opened its first Ford dealership this month, filling an open point in Halifax.

Ford was previously represented by Hartwell, whose outlet closed 18 months ago. Dews adds Ford on a former Dixon Motors Nissan retail point in the West Yorkshire town. The group has Vauxhall on an adjoining site and in January it opened a Peugeot dealership 100 yards away.

Craig Hamer, director of marketing and strategy, said last year’s turnover at Dews was around £24 million. With the addition of the Ford and Peugeot outlets, and planned growth, the group was aiming for annual sales of around £35-40 million.

“Ford has traditionally done well in Halifax,” said Hamer.

“We are confident we can do much better than Hartwell because its Ford outlet was in poor premises.

“It is unusual to have Ford and Vauxhall dealerships so close but the two manufacturers are happy with the arrangement – Dews has a good reputation as a family firm in the area. We have good staff retention – one in five employees has been with us for at least 20 years.”

The group has a second Vauxhall dealership and an Alfa Romeo outlet in nearby Brighouse, and also operates a vehicle rental business.

David Hamer, Craig’s father and grandson of founder Ernest Dew, is group chairman and managing director. The pair headed a management buyout in January when they acquired control of the business from David Hamer’s mother and other family shareholders.

Group operations director David Ashton retires soon after 35 years with the company and will be replaced by Craig Hamer, who joined the business three years ago after working for Vodaphone and management consultants.

“We have held the Vauxhall franchise since 1928,” he said. “I felt we needed to gain other franchises in case Vauxhall sales suffer a setback some time.”

Ernest Dews started the business with a Rover franchise, later adding Chevrolet trucks and Vauxhall and Bedford trucks.

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