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Eastern Western Motor Group parent company acquires Dundee's Barnett Motor Group

Barnetts Volkswagen Dundee

Eastern Holdings has acquired Volkswagen and Mazda retailer Barnetts Motor Group, adding Mazda and Volkswagen franchises in Dundee for an undisclosed sum.

The parent company of the AM100 retailer Eastern Western Motor Company will keep the Barnetts name as well as retaining all 150 staff at its Mazda and Volkswagen dealerships in Dundee and a Volkswagen franchise in St Andrews, including directors Atholl Hutchison and Jim Brown.

John Clark Motor Group acquired the Barnetts Volvo Dundee franchise on Tuesday (July 31) in a move that came ahead of yesterday’s (August 1) finalising of the deal.

Additionally Eastern Western Motor Group has acquired the John Clark group’s the Nissan businesses in Dundee and Perth. Nissan in Dundee will be rehoused in the showroom vacated by Volvo, a statement revealed.

Barnett’s Motor Group generated a turnover of £65.3 million and return a £1.3m pre-tax profit during its financial year to December 31, 2017.

Douglas Brown, group managing director of Eastern Holdings, Eastern Western Motor Group’s parent company, said: “We have known Paul Barnett for many years and as a result it has been a quick, professional and seamless transaction.

“Barnetts Motor Group and the Nissan franchises in Dundee and Perth will be a great addition to the Eastern Western Motor Group.

“It will give further depth and scale to our existing business and increase our points of representation of these franchises to five Nissan, four Volkswagen and two Mazda.

“Similar to our recent acquisitions of Grassicks BMW & MINI in Perth and Phoenix Honda in Stirling, this further cements our relationship with three of our key partners and is in line with our strategy of growing and developing the Group with existing brand partners in new geographical territories.

“We look forward to welcoming Barnetts’ teams and our new Nissan teams to the Group and we will continue to trade under the Barnetts name in Dundee and St Andrews as it is synonymous with quality and excellent customer service. Nissan in Perth will trade as Western Nissan.”

In an interview with the Dundee Courier newspaper Barnett Motor Group chairman, Paul Barnett said: “In Eastern Western we have found a really great fit – it is a company with similar values and core ethos to Barnetts – and by being part of a bigger group there are better benefits to be had.

“I will be sad to leave but, thinking about the car trade and running your own business, it is 24/7 – even when you are sitting around the swimming pool on holiday you are constantly thinking about the business.”

AM understands that Eastern Western group managing director Douglas Brown approached Barnetts around 12 months ago to discuss the possibility of the buy-out.

“We took a policy decision about a year ago that if anyone came to speak to us then we would have the chat with them,” said Mr Barnett.

“Douglas came to us and said he was interested in the business and it seemed a really good cultural fit.

“He wasn’t thinking about changing the name – which was nice for me – and they are keeping all the staff and my two fellow-directors are staying on.

“There’s a really bright future for the business.”

Eastern Western Motor Group's recent acquisitions by the group have included a move for BMW and Mini dealer Grassicks Garages Ltd in August last year and the for Phoenix Motor Company’s Honda Stirling site in November.

The group now represents 12 franchises - Mercedes-Benz Cars (3), Smart (1), Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles (4), BMW (2), MINI (2), Lexus (2), Volkswagen (4), Toyota (3), Nissan (5), Honda (2), Mazda (2) and Harley-Davidson (1) - from 31 sites.

It also has a large number of ‘own brand’ operations including used car specialists Car Deal Warehouse.

Ahead of the publication of its full-year 2017 accounts next month, the group revealed to AM that it had realised an annual turnover of £606 million during the period.

This year Eastern Western Motor Group's annual turnover is expected to exceed £700 million. 

Barnett told the Courier newspaper that he will now concentrate on expanding the family’s property interests through Barnetts Properties, which owns Bassaguard Business Park in St Andrews.

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