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Shelbourne Motors launches £3m investment programme in 50th anniversary year

Family run: Paul Ward, director of the family-run Shelbourne Motors with fellow directors, his sister Caroline Willis and brother Richard Ward and founder Fred Ward

Shelbourne Motors has committed to a £3 million capital investment programme to upgrade its car dealerships in Portadown an Newry as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The Northern Ireland retail group, visited by AM for a dealer profile in late 2019, will bring its multi-brand Dacia, Kia, Renault and Toyota franchises up to the car manufacturers’ latest corporate identity standards with the investment.

Improvements including new car handover bays, enhanced customer service facilities and electric vehicle (EV) charge points will be ushered in by the changes.

The group’s investment comes just three years after the launch of its purpose-built retail site in Newry – just a mile from the spot where group founder Fed Ward started selling cars.

Paul Ward, director of the family-run Shelbourne Motors business now operated alongside his sister Caroline Willis and Richard Ward, said: “This is a significant investment in the future growth of our business as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary.

“Our customers and staff will start to see changes across our multi-franchise dealerships in Portadown and Newry as we future proof our business and further strengthen our position as one of Northern Ireland’s largest family-owned vehicle retailers.

“This £3m capital investment programme will allow us to continue to focus on delivering a quality customer experience across our excellent franchise network and creating jobs across all areas of the business that supports the local economy. “

Shelbourne Motors was founded by the Ward Family in 1973 when owner Fred Ward converted his former forecourt business into a used car sales unit. 

It now sells over 5,000 new and used cars annually and currently employs a team of over 150 staff across its dealerships in Portadown and Newry.

The business is the longest-standing Toyota franchisee in Northern Ireland and holds franchises for Renault, Nissan, Kia, Dacia, and MAXUS, as well as its own used car brand, Autoselect, and vehicle rental division, Shelbourne Vehicle Rental.

Shelbourne’s turnover has soared since the opening of its £5m Newry multi-franchise dealership in 2019, with 2018’s record £39.9m figure topped by a £77.9m record in a COVID-19 hit 12 months to December 31, 2021, delivered alongside a pre-tax profit of £3.1m.

Paul Ward said: “We have come a long way since our Father, Fred Ward, launched our first car dealership in 1973 and over the last 50 years we have prided ourselves on being a family run business built upon a commitment to offering exceptional choice and excellent customer service to our strong and loyal customer base.

“With an excellent reputation spanning five decades, we are firmly established as one of Northern Ireland’s largest family-owned vehicle retailers with an impressive portfolio of global vehicle manufacturers, and we are always looking to the future as we strive to continually evolve and invest in our customer service offering.”

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