Despite differences between many aspiring sellers' price expectations and what buyers may be prepared to pay – as well as uncertainty around future dealer profitability, the impact of the agency model and certain manufacturer's network restructurings – we are still seeing an active Motor Deals market.

The value/exchange rate of the pound against foreign currencies means that overseas buyers are in a strong position and in 2022 we saw this translate into the likes of Group 1 (US) snapping up Fairfield BMW, the Dubai based major shareholder of Brayleys Cars buying nine West Way Nissan dealerships and Hedin Group (Swedish) acquiring four Mercedes-Benz dealerships. Market commentators expect this trend to continue, with overseas entrants such as Super Group (South Africa), Group 1 (US) and Motus (South Africa) acquiring more UK motor dealerships.

UK dealer groups are still active in the market too though, including in the Helston Garages sales in late 2022 where Vertu acquired the group and 28 dealerships, with Yeomans having acquired 11 Audi, VW and Skoda dealerships and Rybrook also having previously bought their Exeter Porsche dealership.

Many of our readers will recall that in the last recession (starting in 2007) we saw a lot of motor deal activity and sector commentators now expect a ramping up of the “grow or go” approach for UK motor dealers, leading to another increase in the level of deal activity in the sector.

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