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Citygate Automotive acquires Lookers’ West London Škoda car dealership

Citygate Automotive's West London Skoda car dealership

Citygate Automotive has completed the acquisition of Lookers’ West London Škoda dealership for an undisclosed sum.

The AM100 2019’s 69th-ranked retailer by turnover has grown its representation with the Volkswagen Group’s Czech brand to three locations with the deal.

Citygate’s acquisition of the facility, on Great West Road, Brentford, comes nine months after its acquisitions of West London Volkswagen and Twickenham Volkswagen from Inchcape.

Group chief executive, Jonathan Smith, said: “We are delighted to further strengthen our relationship with Škoda and Volkswagen Group UK with this strategic acquisition in the capital, which complements our other locations.

“With exciting new models launching across the Škoda range, we are proud to expand our portfolio and deliver excellence for the brand and our customers.”

Employing over 650 staff, the Citygate’s latest purchase increases its franchised car retail portfolio to 14 dealerships across London and the Home Counties, representing Volkswagen, VW Commercial Vehicles, Škoda, Seat, Cupra and Kia for new, used and aftersales.

The West London operation joins existing Citygate Škoda sites in Slough and Watford.

2019 financial results

Citygate’s completion of the West London Škoda dealership acquisition comes just a week after it reported pre-tax profits which had reduced by half in 2019.

In its financial reported for the 12 months period to December 31, 2019, the group delivered a turnover of £232.1 million – up 7.9% on 2018 – as its profit before tax declined from £3m to £1.5m.

The group described the performance, ahead of this year’s COVID-19 outbreak, as “satisfactory” given the “micro economic uncertainty” experienced last year.

Citygate’s 2020 acquisitions from Inchcape and Lookers come as both fellow AM100 busineses are looking to reduce their footprint in pursuit of increased profitability.

Under pressure Lookers announced at the start of June that it planned to close a further 12 car dealerships and make up to 1,500 redundancies as part of a restructure plan targeting annual savings of £50 million.

Inchcape, meanwhile, has completed a number of disposals over the past 14 months.

AM reported last week that Inchcape may now be poised to sell a number of further locations as it embarks on a global cost reduction exercise targeting £90m in annualised savings for the retail and distribution business.

Vertu Motors confirmed that it is in discussions over the acquisition of “a number of BMW dealerships” following speculation that Inchcape is set to sell a number of sites.

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