AM Online

Vertu steps in at Brooklyn

The collapse of Brooklyn Motor Group has been mitigated by takeovers of its successful Ford and Mazda franchises, saving 210 jobs.

The group, ranked 64 in the AM100, went into receivership at the end of June after several years of losses.

Vertu Motors immediately bought five outlets, and two more were acquired by a company headed by Brooklyn managing director Tim Hill.

However, its four Toyota dealerships and single Skoda outlet ceased trading, leading to the loss of 100 jobs.

Grant Thornton is Brooklyn’s administrative receiver.

A spokesman said Brooklyn had incurred “heavy losses over a number of years” and was affected by the general downturn in the sector during 2008, as well as the wider economic slowdown.

Companies House records confirm losses since 2005 and show that its trading performance was affected by significant investments in 2006 to meet franchise standards for Ford and Toyota.

Daniel Taylor, automotive partner at Grant Thornton, said the receivers were very pleased at having saved a major proportion of the jobs, particularly given the current economic climate and that the sales had been delivered on the back of close co-operation between Ford and all the other financial stakeholders in the business.

Vertu’s deal secured Ford outlets in Redditch and Worcester, Mazda dealerships in Redditch and Cheltenham and an Iveco repair franchise.

The acquisition, including several properties, takes Vertu up to 45 franchised outlets.

Robert Forrester, Vertu’s chief executive, said the businesses achieved an estimated £960,000 profit in 2008 and would improve earnings further with Vertu’s systems and operational improvements in place.

MTCR Marketing, which owns a vehicle rental business, bought the remaining Brooklyn Ford dealerships in Kidderminster and Malvern, saving 50 jobs. MTCR Marketing’s owners include Brooklyn’s Tim Hill and operations director Richard Hill.

AM contacted Tim Hill, who declined to comment on reasons behind Brooklyn’s failure, but said Ford was supportive of MTCR’s acquisition.

The Kidderminster and Malvern sites will operate under the Hills Ford brand, he said.

Toyota confirmed Brooklyn’s dealerships in Hereford, Worcester, Cheltenham and Gloucester had ceased trading, adding that future representation for those areas was now under review. 

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