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July 22, 2019

Group 1 buys and sells UK dealerships

Group 1 Automotive, the Fortune 500 automotive retailer, said it had acquired five Volkswagen franchises in the UK and disposed of three others handling multiple brands.

By Olly Wehring

Group 1 Automotive, the Fortune 500 automotive retailer, said it had acquired five Volkswagen franchises in the UK and disposed of three others handling multiple brands.

The new transaction includes four VW franchises and a VW commercial vehicle franchise located in Essex, east of London, in Chelmsford, Colchester, Romford and Southend.

"This territory is contiguous with several other existing automotive dealerships currently owned and operated by Group 1 Automotive in the UK," the company said in a statement.

This acquisition is expected to generate approximately US$115m in annual revenue.

Group 1's UK operations now consist of 49 dealerships (65 franchises) with 11 brands (Audi, BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Mini, Seat, Skoda, Toyota, and VW CVs).

"We are pleased to further expand our global relationship with VW through the addition of these five franchises to our growing UK platform," said Earl Hesterberg, Group 1's president and CEO.  

Last June, the company disposed of three UK franchises, which included BMW and Mini, in Watford, north of London, as well as a VW CV franchise in Hatfield. These generated around $70m in revenue.

Houston-based Group 1 is the third largest dealership group in the US and also operates in Brazil as well as the UK.

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