JCB Group has been revealed as Suzuki GB's latest new franchisee with the opening its first showroom with the brand in Ebbsfleet, North Kent.
The new franchise joins existing JCB Group franchises on the Oakwood Industrial Estate, Gravesend, and features a five-car showroom display featuring the latest generation Vitara SUV and Swift hatchback.
An official Launch Weekend will take place on August 10 and 11 and will see new customers offered £250 of free fuel with every vehicle purchase.
Jonathan Bischoff, Managing Director of the JCB Group, said: “Now in our 20th year of operation, we are very excited to be extending our portfolio even further by adding a Suzuki sales and aftersales location.
“It’s a great brand with brilliant products, which offer affordability, exceptional value and low emissions.
The vehicle manufacturer’s ethos is very much aligned with ours, where the customer is always at the centre of everything we do.
“We have a real commitment and confidence in the vibrant, busy and ever-changing area of Ebbsfleet, so to add Suzuki to this dual-brand showroom – a brand not represented in the area previously – made sense for our business and customers.”
News of the new Ebbsfleet site’s opening comes just a day after AM reported that Suzuki GB had extended its growing representation in the UK to 161 sites with the appointment of Worleys Garage in new High Wycombe.
Worleys put its Suzuki GB franchise in its former Citroen dealership site in the Buckinghamshire town.
Dale Wyatt, Director of Automobile at Suzuki GB PLC, told delegates at the AM100 Roundtable meeting that growing Suzuki’s UK franchised dealership representation was central to the brand’s growth plans.
He said that he had “never seen fewer locations result in more sales”.
Year-to-date to the end of June, Suzuki’s UK registrations were up o.62% to 20,464 (2018: 20,337) in a total market down by 3.41%, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Commenting on the addition of JCB Group as another new franchise partner, Wyatt said: “We are delighted to welcome one of Kent’s largest and most respected motor retailers to our network and they are a valued addition to our portfolio.
“The group will play an important role in our strategy to continue to grow our presence across the South of England, and opening a showroom in Ebbsfleet for the first time will help Suzuki to increase its market share in this region of the UK.
“We look forward to starting our new journey with the JCB Group and to enjoying a mutually successful partnership.”
JCB Group said in a statement that the opening of its new JCB Suzuki Ebbsfleet on August 1 was the latest move by the motor group which has been expanding its business organically, and through acquisitions throughout Kent and Sussex, in a bid to meet a gap in the local market and customer demand.
Among JCG's recent network additions has been the January opening of a new Crawley-based Euro Skoda Snow Hill showroom, in what had been a Peugeot facility, and the opening of a new Mercedes-Benz Vans facility on London Road, Rainham.
The JCB Group employs some 500 people and is currently placed 79th in the AM100 after achieving revenues of £186.6m in 2018.