Ford UK has contracted to acquire the Jardine Motors Group’s 51% interest in Polar Motor Group, one of the largest Ford dealer groups in the UK. The transaction will give Ford 100% ownership.

Ford currently holds a 49% share in Polar, a joint venture formed with Jardine. The transaction, for an undisclosed sum, is subject to European Union approval – a process which will take at least four weeks.

“Outright ownership of Polar is a natural fit for Ford Retail Europe’s strategy, giving us control of representation in key metropolitan areas,” said Earl Hesterberg, vice-president for sales, marketing and service, Ford of Europe.

The Polar group covers 11 key metropolitan areas in the UK. In addition, Ford Retail UK, a wholly-owned Ford business, operates three dealerships in Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester and has a 49% shareholding in Lindsay Cars which operates in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Ford and Jardine formed the joint venture – Polar Motor Group – in 1998, which then operated dealerships in Bradford, Warrington and York. In March 1999 the Polar group purchased Dagenham Motors Group plc and has since acquired further dealerships in the London and Yorkshire areas. Today the company employs around 2,500 people. Total group sales in 2003 were 46,000 new and used units and the sales revenue was over £600 million.