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Vertu looks for growth in Scotland

Vertu Motors is looking to build a scale operation in Scotland as part of its overall growth strategy.

The publicly-listed dealer group has taken over its second dealership north of the border and is in regular talks with its manufacturer partners about any opportunities in the country.

It has founded a new brand, Macklin Motors, which its Scottish dealerships will trade under.

In England, Vertu’s key brand is Bristol Street Motors.

Robert Forrester, chief executive, told AM the Macklin name stems from family links and will become a strong brand in Scotland.

Vertu’s most recent acquisition, the Peugeot dealership in Paisley of Johnston of Renfrewshire, has already been rebranded Macklin Motors Peugeot. Having paid £2.1 million for the dealership, which made a £100,000 loss from £5.5 million sales in 2009, Vertu has begun implementing a turnaround plan.

This includes a new general manager and accountant, refurbishing the leasehold property to Peugeot’s Blue Box standards and increasing car and LCV retail sales and aftersales.

Dunfermline Ford, which became Vertu’s first Scottish business following its takeover in January, will not be rebranded but Forrester said that is an exceptional case due to its particularly strong existing brand.

The Paisley business brings the total number of Peugeot dealerships operated by Vertu to seven. In total, the group now operates 60 sales outlets from 51 locations.

In a separate development, Vertu has relocated Gloucester Renault out of its multi-franchise location alongside its Ford dealership.

Its new home is a showroom which was most recently occupied by a Brooklyn Motors Toyota operation until it went bust.

This relocation will allow for the significant growth in scale of the Renault operation, said Forrester. Its staff is being increased from eight to 20, new and used sales will increase and MoT tests are now being offered.

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