Nissan Motor GB has announced the sale of its 13 manufacturer-owned West Way dealerships, following the announcement of its future Ideal Network Plan and a strategic review of its business.
Existing partners are set to take over the dealerships as part of plans to strengthen their strategic Nissan portfolio.
Yeomans will acquire sites in Aldershot and Basingstoke. Glyn Hopkin will take on the dealership in Mill Hill (pictured right), which has become a brutalist landmark for north London commuters, and Hendy will acquire the Southampton business.
The remaining nine West Way sites in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Rochdale, Stockport, Altrincham, Coventry, Stourbridge, Oldham and Manchester, including head office and group support functions, are being bought as a group by investors who have not yet been named.
The disposals will be completed by the end of August, with around 450 West Way employees being transferred to the new owners.
The AM100 dealer group's most recent accounts at Companies House show it achieved £285.5 million turnover in 2020 (down 30% from £410.2m in 2019), and made a pre-tax loss of £9.1m (an improvement from a £12.1m loss in 2019).
The company last recorded a pre-tax profit in 2018, of £153,000, according to Companies House accounts.
Andrew Humberstone (pictured below), managing director (MD) of Nissan Motor GB, said: “We have conducted a strategic review of our business operations to focus on sustainable profitability for the future, aligned to our global Nissan Next transformation strategy.
“West Way is a high performing business that delivered record results in 2021 and provides excellent levels of customer service.
"This, combined with the launch of Nissan’s exciting and electrified new products, ensures it is a very attractive proposition for these investors.
“They are able to leverage the synergies of their existing business units and ensure these dealer sites can continue to grow and maintain the great experience our customers are accustomed to receiving.”
The divestment of the West Way sites is part of a wider strategic move for Nissan, designed to meet industry challenges and 'build a sustainable business with its partners for the future'.
Under the new plan Nissan will have a UK representation of around 140 sales sites and approximately 180 service centres.
Nissan has been accused of attempting to carry out a “cloak and dagger” restructure of its franchised car retail network which will axe some of its longest serving and top-performing franchised car dealers.
Humberstone would only state that Nissan was reshaping its territories in an OEM profile feature with AM in October last year, adding that the future is in “fewer, bigger, better” sales points and that, thanks to good profitability, its 67 franchisees can invest where Nissan needs them to.
West Way had expanded in the past decade, including buying the Mill Hill site from WMLG.
Jon Roberts, managing director of West Way, said: “I would like to personally thank our colleagues that are integrating into new businesses in the south for their dedication and contribution to the group over many years.
“This is a really exciting time for the remaining sites at West Way that are being acquired as a group which will allow them to build further on the tremendous success in more recent years, with 2021 being a record result.
"As part of this West Way will also see the required investment in the businesses to elevate them to the next level.”
James Smith, managing director and chairman of Yeomans, said: “We are delighted to be expanding our partnership with Nissan in Aldershot and Basingstoke.
“This acquisition will take us to seven outlets with the brand whom we have represented since our first site opened in Worthing in 1986.
"It is an exciting time for Nissan in the UK with the launch of Ariya and new electrified powertrains across the range, we look forward to sharing a successful future.”
Paul Hendy, chief executive of Hendy Group, added: “The Hendy Group are delighted to be part of an exciting future with Nissan, and the Southampton acquisition is testament to our commitment to the brand.
"We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to the group and building on the great work that they have done as a team.”
Fraser Cohen, managing director of Glyn Hopkin, said: “We are very pleased to be adding Mill Hill to our existing 13 Nissan dealerships.
“It’s a renowned flagship facility covering a very significant market and strategically makes perfect sense given the markets we already cover.
“We are looking forward to welcoming all the staff at Mill Hill into the Glyn Hopkin group and are very confident that we can work together to maximise this excellent opportunity at such an exciting time for the Nissan brand.”