AM Online

Darren Guiver leaves Group 1 Automotive managing director post

Group 1 Automotive has parted company with its managing director Darren Guiver after the Spire Automotive founder decided to "take time away from the business”.

Guiver was appointed as managing director of the UK operations of the AM100’s ninth-ranked franchised retail group by turnover back in March 2018 and had worked for Group 1 in the UK since February 2016 when the US-based operation acquired his dealer group, Spire Automotive.

Initially acting as deputy managing director at Group 1 Guiver gained the MD role following the departure of UK chairman Chris Hayden.

But speaking to AM on November 21, Guiver said that he simply wanted to step away from the business to spend “quality time” with his family.

“I just wanted some quality time for myself and my family,” he said. “I have enjoyed every minute of working with Group 1 and (president and chief executive) Earl, but the time has come to take some time to step back and do some of the things I want to do.”

Guiver said that the challenges of the current climate had nothing to do with his decision.

Glyn Hopkin group begins used car online sales

Glyn Hopkin has become the latest AM100 dealer group to begin sales of used cars online and processed its first sale within 11 hours of launching the service.

The car dealer in the south east of England has adopted the NetDirector Auto-e platform, provided by GForces. Other dealers already using the system since its launch in early 2019 include RRG, Vantage Motor Group and Chorley Group.

E-commerce is being added steadily to many dealers' services now, although some manufacturer brands such as Peugeot, BMW and Volvo operate their own e-commerce stream for new car customers.

Competition for used car e-commerce is growing. A rival system by Rockar is being used by Harwoods Group, while Vertu Motors began trading on its own platform in 2017 and Peter Vardy has backed Silver Bullet.

At Glyn Hopkin, managing director Fraser Cohen said his team has identified e-commerce as being an essential component of its future business operations.

TrustFord celebrates 2019 successes at annual dealer conference

TrustFord chairman and chief executive Stuart Foulds vowed to continue investing in the group’s facilities when he welcomed 600 employees to its 2019 annual conference.

Staff from across the Ford of Britain-owned AM100 joined Foulds and his leadership team for the annual gathering which took place at the National Conference Centre, in Nottingham, on November 6 and 7.

Guests at the event, which was hosted by automotive journalist and PR Curtis Hutchinson, included Nick King from Autotrader and Zara Ross, the chief executive of TrustFord’s charity partner, Ben.

Last month 37 teams of TrustFord employees and supplier partners succeeded in raising over £117,000 for the Ben charity by travelling a combined distance of more than 20,000 miles in just 25 hours during the Breakout for Ben 2019 challenge.

TrustFord expands Quick Lane operations with new Colchester centre

Trustford has expanded its representation of Ford’s Quick Lane Tyre & Autocentre fast-fit network with the opening of a new location in Colchester on November 20.

The 6,000 square-foot facility is situated on Peartree Road Retail Park, close to Colchester town centre and the Tollgate shopping park, and is the fourth franchised Quick Lane centre to open in the UK this year and the second operated by the AM100 group.

TrustFord opened its first Quick Lane site at Prestwich earlier this year and the Ford of Britain-owned AM100 group’s chairman and chief executive, Stuart Foulds, spoke of further expansion of the network at the retailer's annual conference, in Nottingham, on November 6/7.

Pentagon acquires Sytner's Seat dealership in Huddersfield

Pentagon Motor Group has continued its 2019 car dealer network expansion by completing the acquisition of Sytner Group's Seat UK franchised location in Huddersfield.

The AM100 retail group, which was acquired by the vehicle division of Imperial Holdings SA, the Motus Corporation, back in August 2017, has followed its addition of three Ford sites from TrustFord, a Vauxhall dealership from Archie Moss and two additional Peugeot locations this year with the acquisition of the Spanish brand’s West Yorkshire car retail location from the AM100's largest retail group.

News of the acquisition follows AM’s article detailing Sytner’s plan to cut its Volkswagen representation by a third, by closing one dealership and selling four to Johnsons Cars.

Pentagon’s acquisition of the franchise was completed on November 19, bringing its total representation with the brand to four sites, with Huddersfield joining existing dealerships in Oldham, Scunthorpe and Nottingham.

All 29 existing Sytner Group staff at the Huddersfield dealership have transferred to the Pentagon Group operation under normal TUPE regulations.

Motor Trader

Cambria Automobiles sees profits rise 37% to £12.5m

Cambria Automobiles turned in a strong performance in the year to 31 August with pre-tax profit up 37.4% to £12.5m on turnover up 4.4% to £657.8m.

The company has changed the profile of the brands it represents over the past two years, adding two Bentley dealerships, one Lamborghini and one McLaren dealership.

The group saw a like-for-like reduction in new car sales of 15.3% but it saw a 40.3% in profit per unit helped by the move upmarket, and the reduction in lower margin fleet business.

Like for like used car sales rose 1.4% over the period with a 7% improvement in profit per unit. Like for like aftersales revenues increased 5.1%.

All change for Honda outlets as Marshall takes over

When news broke that Jardine Group was exiting, the Honda brand employees at the centres in the Berkshire towns of Reading and Newbury feared for their future.

But while two of the four outlets were closed, in September the Reading and Newbury centres were sold and staff now find themselves part of Marshall Group, ranked seventh in the Motor Trader top 200, just ahead of Jardine.

The general manager of the Newbury and Reading businesses is Mark Crook, who has worked for 20 years in the motor industry. He was formerly a regional manager for Jardine’s Honda centres. Like his colleagues he has been acclimatising to new ways of doing things and he likes what he sees.

Car Dealer Magazine

Johnsons Cars buys four of Sytner Group’s Volkswagen dealerships

Johnsons Cars has bought four of the Sytner Group’s Volkswagen dealerships in England – currently a third of Sytner’s sites devoted to the marque.

The price tag hasn’t been revealed, but it sees Johnsons taking over the showrooms in Warrington, Liverpool, Stafford and Stoke – increasing its VW portfolio to nine dealerships and leaving Sytner with one VW franchise in Llandudno, two in Belfast and four in Yorkshire.

A fifth Yorkshire VW site owned by Sytner – in Halifax – is to close at the end of November.

Last year, Johnsons saw turnover rise by 20 per cent to £432m and it reported an operating profit of £5.5m with a pre-tax profit of £4.07m. In the previous year – to December 31, 2017 – its turnover rose by 12 per cent to £360m, with it making an operating profit of £2.5m and a pre-tax profit of £1.4m.

Meanwhile, in the year to December 31, 2018, Sytner made an operating profit of £127.1m and pre-tax profit of £113.3m on a turnover of nearly £6bn – up on 2017’s operating profit of £109.4m and pre-tax profit of £99.1m on revenue of £5.6bn, which at the time was the highest in the group’s history.

Source: AM Online