Jardine Motors Group’s acquisition of three Toyota dealerships and a Lexus authorised repairer from Lookers is the latest signal of the well-funded company’s intention to grow.
The Toyota sites in Chelmsford, Rayleigh and Romford will trade as Lancaster Toyota.
The deal ensures Jardine now dominates the region’s Toyota representation along the key A12 corridor, as it fits alongside the outlets in Colchester and Ipswich which it bought last year from Thorndale Investments.
For Lookers, it means an exit from Toyota in Great Britain, although it still represents the Japanese brand in Northern Ireland at three Charles Hurst dealerships and two Lexus sites.
Added to its Durham and Sunderland sites, which trade under its Minories brand, Jardine now has seven Toyota dealerships and two with Lexus at Ipswich and Newcastle.
Alun Jones, Jardine chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be growing our relationship further with Toyota and Lexus who are our key brand partners.
“The South Essex territory is adjacent to the market area we acquired last year in Ipswich and Colchester giving us opportunities for further synergies.”
This latest acquisition continues Jardine’s strategy of growing the business and developing its relationships with existing partners.
It takes the group’s number of locations to 79 trading under Lancaster, Scotthall, Wayside, Appleyard, Minories, Abridge and Clover Leaf Cars.
Post-recession, Jardine has been behind the most significant deal in the AM100 since Cambria Automobiles bought Summit Auto in 2008, when in 2011 it took over Wayside Group, pushing its turnover above £1.2 billion and taking it into the top 10 of the AM100 list.
Data available to AM shows that since 2002 Toyota’s UK network has reduced by 18%, almost 30 sites, to 182 dealerships.
The carmaker last year saw its market share drop to below 2001 levels after its lowest annual
registrations in a decade, largely due to supply issues.
Nevertheless, the results of the recent NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey show Toyota franchisees enjoy a strong, open partnership with the manufacturer and its management, and they continue to value the franchise highly.