UK-based international automotive retail group Inchcape has bought dealer Keystar Motors in south east Queensland, Australia.

Keystar sells and services Subaru, Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi vehicles in the Brisbane area, through two multi-franchise retail centres. These generated around £32.0m of revenue in the fiscal year ended 30 June 2005.

Inchcape already has retail outlets in Melbourne and Sydney but the Keystar acquisition is the group's first entry into Brisbane; whose warm-year-round climate is popular with expatriate Britons. As more and more Australians and expats either move permanently to, or buy holiday homes in Queensland, the car market is enjoying strong growth.

Inchcape noted that the acquisition further strengthens Inchcape's distribution and retail business with Subaru and builds on the relationships with Hyundai and Kia.

Inchcape is paying around GBP8.8m in cash for the Queensland business.

Its group chief executive André Lacroix said: "[Brisbane is] an important high growth market and the acquisition provides us with a platform from which to develop a larger business in that region over time."