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Dealer acquisition activity set to continue in the short term

Property consultants Rapleys expect the current rate of dealership acquisitions to continue despite the introduction of a general block exemption.

Daniel Cook, Rapleys associate automotive & roadside, said: “We foresee the current pattern of corporate activity continuing in the short term particularly where groups are well funded.

“Despite positive announcements by bank CEO’s regarding the availability of finance, we see little evidence of increased demand for vacant premises for motor dealership uses, unless supported by a manufacturer and in key locations. We anticipate this trend might alter as the year progresses.”

Cook said the acquisitions had been supported by the general improvement in economic sentiment in the automotive sector and a general feeling of economic recovery which will continue in 2013.

Some of the acquisitions so far in 2013:

- Lookers has acquired Glasgow based Shields Automotive for £8.75m. This is expected to add over £20.5m per annum to Lookers’ group turnover, taking it to over £2.27bn.
- Ridgeway have expanded their brand range having acquired Hartwell’s Land Rover in Oxford and opened a new Skoda facility in Newbury.
- Brindley Garages are redeveloping the former Bicknells Vauxhall in Tipton to open their second Kia dealership in the West Midlands, which is estimated to have cost in the region of £3m.
- Group 1 Automotive introduce the Ford brand to their network having bought four Ford dealerships in Farnborough, Guildford, Wokingham and Bracknell, this will be the groups first volume brand in the UK.
- Bowker Motor Group has been appointed by Maserati to open its first Lancashire dealership. The brand will operate from their existing premises on the A59 in Osbaldeston near Blackburn from June 2013.
- John Clark Motor Group have invested £1.4m in a new Skoda and Seat dealership in Aberdeen.
- Thurlow Nunn have announced plans to open a new Vauxhall brand centre in Milton Keynes in January 2014, following a £5m investment.
- Pentagon Group has completed its acquisition of Peugeot in Keighley, West Yorkshire from The Co-operative Motor Group. This takes the groups total number of franchise points to 23.


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