Meridian Motor Group has bought its first two Citroen dealerships.
The deal will see Meridian, which trades under the Vantage brand, acquire two dealerships and an accident repair centre in Morecambe and Kendal from John Wilding Limited.
The car dealer group plans to retain all current staff at the dealerships which will initially trade as John Wilding Citroen. Both sites will eventually rebrand to join the business’ ‘Vantage’ family which will involve significant further investment.
The vendor of the business Adrian Wilding is the son of founder John Wilding and he will be leaving the retail motor industry to pursue other interests.
Mark Robinson, Meridian managing director, said: "This latest deal will help cement the group’s position in the North Lancashire and South Lakes region and will enable us to offer greater choice and value to customers in the area.
"John Wilding is a well respected family run business with a strong customer base which will be an excellent addition to our network.
“This is also significant in that it marks the start of our relationship with Citroen which is a manufacturer that shares our aspiration for growth and development.
"Citroen also has a very strong fleet offering and linked to this acquisition, we will be establishing a UK-wide fleet services department across all our brands.”
The two dealerships will be expected to sell a combined 1,500 new and used vehicles a year and contribute an additional £15m to group turnover.
"The acquisition will further develop Meridian’s presence in the region adding to Toyota centres in Grange-over Sands, Preston, Colne and Blackburn and Hyundai dealerships in Stockport, Salford and Oldham.
In total the group now has 18 sales points at 16 locations representing Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Kia, Honda and now Citroen.
"Following the acquisition, the group will employ 400 people across Northern England and the West Midlands.
Sally Smith, director of network development and quality, Peugeot Citroën Automobiles UK, said: "John Wilding Limited has been a long-standing asset for the brand within the Citroen dealer network and we're pleased to welcome Meridian's new leadership for the next chapter of the story. We look forward to working with the group and watching the two businesses flourish in the future."
Meridian was advised by Walker Morris solicitors in Leeds and the deal was brokered by Martin Wilson of MTBN.