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Motor - 2002






















Sogefi Filtration is planning to relocate its automotive air filters factory from Abergavenny to a new £4m site in Tredegar, securing the future of 400 jobs.

Dixon Motors is to sell its Car Clinics business to BikeNet, the Aim-quoted cash shell, for an initial £3m.

Arriva is to sell seven Ford dealerships to Hartwell Automotive Group, including sites in Chippenham, Swindon, Halifax, Holmfirth, Huddersfield and two in Nottingham.

Ford Retail UK has bought 11 of the 12 Quartic Group dealerships out of receivership, saving more than 600 jobs.

DaimlerChrysler UK is to set up a new Mercedes-Benz dealership at Lyme Green in Macclesfield by autumn 2003.

Dutton Forshaw Group, the operator of 38 car dealerships, has been acquired by Lloyds TSB Asset Finance Division for £49m.

Carmasters and Motor Vehicle Imports are to merge their Bridlington-based car repair businesses under the name of Carmasters, and the new group will have 140 staff.

Porsche is setting up a £2m car dealership at the Old Tiffield Road industrial estate in Towcester, and staff will relocate from its existing site in Northampton next June.

Cybit Holdings has acquired Drive-IT Systems, the Swedish vehicle management and car-sharing solutions company.

DaimlerChrysler UK has submitted plans to Elmbridge Borough Council for the development of a Mercedes-Benz Heritage & Technology Centre in Surrey, including training facilities, technology labs and a full range of vehicles.

British Car Auctions is planning to set up a new auction centre on a 24-acre site south of Bedford within 18 months.

Dick Lovett Group is to relocate its recently-acquired Chrysler and Jeep dealerships from Hungerford to Swindon in 2003.

SmarTire, the Canadian manufacturer of tyre monitoring systems, is planning to transfer its listing from Nasdaq to Aim early next year, and some funds will be raised to expand production and stocks.

Ford has sold its Hertz Lease car fleet management business to Societe Generale of France for undisclosed terms.

Toyota is setting up a network of business centres for fleet and commercial customers across the country, with the first opening at Inchcape Sandhurst Toyota in Surrey in January.

Cannock Chase Council is to consider plans from Pritchard Holdings for the £7m redevelopment of the Avon Road Business Park, in order to allow Thyssen Krupp to expand production of automotive body panels and create 100 jobs.

Ford is to invest a further £41m at its engine plant in Bridgend, with the creation of about 600 jobs, in order to transfer production of a Volvo engine from Sweden.

Esmar UK is to create more than 130 jobs at a new £9m metal car components factory in Washington, Tyne & Wear, early next year, and some work will transfer from its existing site in Sunderland.

Lind Automotive Group has expanded its East Anglian car dealership business with the acquisition of the Osborne Group, which includes Osborne Garages and Neep BMW in Colchester.

Pendragon is to relocate its Porsche car dealership in Nottingham to a new site at Queens Drive by early 2003.

Epm Technology is to create 20 jobs at factories in Coalville and Draycott, having won a £14m contract to manufacture components for the new Ascari KZ1 supercar.

Lookers is to invest £6m refurbishing its recently-acquired Vauxhall garages in the Birmingham area, and a new site is expected to serve central Birmingham.

Harley-Davidson is looking to set up a new motorcycle dealership in the Oxford area, and a number of possible locations are being considered.

Howard Basford, the vehicle repair company, has undergone a management buy-out for undisclosed terms.

Presswork Partnerships of Wolverhampton has been acquired by the Pressings & Fabrications division of Congleton-based UPF Group for undisclosed terms, saving 130 jobs.

Toyota is to relocate a Lexus car dealership from Derby to Nottingham, as part of a strategy to establish 48 dedicated sales and service centres across the country.

Ryland has sold its Fiat-Alfa Romeo dealerships in Oldbury and Stourbridge to Arnold Clark Automobiles for £1.3m.

Autolink is planning to expand its chain of five car supermarkets to 12 sites over the next two years.

MG Rover is looking to invest £225m in the Daewoo car plant in Poland, in order to produce the Rover 45 and the MG ZS sports car.

Lattice Group has sold its TLG vehicle and plant leasing business to Asset Investment Capital for £95m.

Fieldens is to sell its tyre, wheel and all terrain vehicle business to a newly-formed company called Newco (ATV Tyre & Wheel) for up to £0.4m.

Arriva has put its network of 33 car dealerships up for sale, with an estimated value of £55m.

MP Manipulated Tubes, the Aston-based manufacturer of automotive tubes with 55 staff, has undergone a management buy-out.

Dixon Motors is creating 300 new jobs at a new vehicle preparation and distribution centre at its Thorne site in North Lincolnshire, which is due to open in January.

Visteon is creating 25 new jobs at its car components plant in Swansea, having won a new contract to supply power take-offs to the US.

Northgate has acquired Target Vehicle Rental, the Banbury-based light commercial vehicle hire business, for £3.4m.

Minorplanet Systems is to acquire Transport Electrical & Security, the installer of vehicle fleet tracking systems, for £0.2m.

Vantage Group is to open a new £2m Toyota dealership in Blackburn in January 2003.

Shields Automotive is to invest £12m in two new car retail parks over the next three years, with the first being next to its existing Land Rover site in south Glasgow and the second in Hamilton.

Ford has submitted plans for the £5m development of three 1.8MW wind turbines to power production at its diesel engine manufacturing plant in Dagenham.

Vale of White Horse District Council is considering plans from the Williams motor racing team for the development of a new wind tunnel at its Grove headquarters.

Pyramid Plastics, the Gainsborough-based motorcycle accessories manufacturer with 27 staff, is to relocate to the Corringham Road Industrial Estate in October.

Vauxhall has won approval from the European Commission to receive a £10m government grant to invest in its Ellesmere Port production plant and secure more than 770 jobs.

Vauxhall is in talks with property developers Heron International and Latimer Associates about the sale of its former 56-acre car plant in Luton, which is expected to lead to the development of new homes and offices.

Oshkosh of the US is considering plans to set up a new factory in South Wales with the creation of hundreds of jobs, in order to produce heavy vehicles for the Ministry of Defence.

Fleet Support Group, the vehicle management company, has started work on the development of a new headquarters in Chippenham, and plans to expand its 80-strong workforce with dozens of new jobs over the next two years.

Teronix Engineering, the manufacturer of automotive components, has been bought out of receivership by Currie & Warner Group, saving 110 jobs.

Ilkeston Co-op has started work on the development of a £4m Renault and Nissan dealership on a 2.6-acre site in Haydn Road, Nottingham, which will create 40 jobs.

Gloucester Saab is to relocate its Gloucester-based car dealership from Montpellier to a former Daewoo site in Kingsholm Road.

Scottish Borders Council is considering plans from John Martin for the development of a BMW car dealership on a 10,000 sq ft site at Dunsdale Haugh in Selkirk.

GKN has acquired the Wolverhampton-based automotive chassis business of UPF-Thompson out of receivership.

Eclipse Vehicle Management is to relocate its vehicle delivery business from Kidlington to a six-acre site in Kingston Bagpuize, and its 70-strong workforce will be expanded.

European Motor Holdings has sold Normand Eurotrucks, its remaining Mercedes-Benz business, to DaimlerChrysler UK Retail for £0.8m.

Lookers has acquired Elt Brothers, the Birmingham-based Vauxhall car dealership for £0.9m.

Ford has sold its Kwik-Fit chain of 2,500 car repair centres to CVC Capital Partners for £330m.

Inchcape is to acquire the Gowrings Ford dealerships in Wokingham and Bracknell for £3.9m.

Toyota Tsusho is to set up a 33,000 sq ft factory at Willow Farm near East Midlands Airport to supply wheels and tyres to the Toyota plant in Burnaston, with the creation of 20 jobs.

AC Cars is to relocate some of its sports car manufacturing operations from Surrey to Malta, having formed a new consortium on the island with financial support from the Malta Development Corporation.

Lex Service is investing £20m in new technology to increase the cross-selling of products in its motor services business this year.

Northgate is to acquire a 40% stake in Fualsa, the Spanish van rental company, for £10m, and has an option to buy the remaining 60% by May 2006.

Proton, the Malaysian car manufacturer, is to relocate its UK sales operation from Bristol to its Group Lotus site in Norfolk, but its import preparation and parts centre is expected to remain in Avonmouth.

Robinsons is to open new Mercedes-Benz car dealerships in King's Lynn and Bury St Edmunds in October, in addition to a recently-acquired business in Cambridge.

Ricardo has acquired Gemini Transmissions, the Brackley-based motorsport company with 40 staff, for £3.4m.

Carcraft is planning to build a £14m car warehouse on the Axis Business Park in Liverpool, with the creation of up to 300 jobs.

Reg Vardy is looking to spend up to £100m on acquisitions to expand its network of car dealerships from 73 to 100.

Ryland has reorganised its Mercedes-Benz business by acquiring a dealership in Sunderland from JA62 for £1.8m and a dealership in Carlisle from Eden Bridge Carriage for £1.4m, while its Oxford dealership has been sold to Gerard Mann for £2.7m.

Gowrings has sold its Ford dealership in Newbury to City Motor Holdings for £1.4m, and the proceeds will be used to expand its chain of 43 Burger King restaurants.

The Motor Industry Research Association has started work on the development of a £3m wind tunnel at its automotive engineering centre near Nuneaton.

Pirelli has won permission to set up a tyre warehouse at its Dalston Road site in Carlisle, with the creation of up to 50 jobs.

Renrod Motor Group, the operator of 13 car dealerships in West Wiltshire and Bath, is to relocate its head office and 20 staff to the centre of Trowbridge later this month.

EasyGroup is looking to expand its car rental operations from 19 to 40 locations, and a new business model will be adopted to reduce costs and increase margins.

The British Metals Recycling Association has estimated that UK scrap yards will have to invest more than £500m in new equipment to comply with new European legislation on scrapping old cars.

Thyssen Krupp Automotive Group is to start production at a new motor body panels factory in Cannock later this summer, with the creation of more than 60 jobs.

Listers Group is to set up a £2m Volkswagen dealership and service centre at Eliot Park near Nuneaton, with the creation of 50 jobs.

MG Rover is in negotiations to acquire control of Daewoo's Polish manufacturing operation, as part of a strategy to expand its car distribution network into central and eastern Europe.

Centrica has acquired Tyreserve, the supplier of replacement tyres via a nationwide network, for £0.4m.

Reg Vardy is to set up a new call centre, warehouse and car distribution centre at the Rainton Bridge Business Park in Sunderland, with the creation of up to 35 jobs.

Francis Motor Group is to set up a new Seat car dealership on a 1.5-acre site at Raw Dykes Road in Leicester, with the creation of 25 jobs.

Unipart is to create 250 new jobs at its Coventry plant following an agreement to supply exhausts to Land Rover through its UEES joint venture with Eberspacher of Germany.

The East of England Development Agency has arranged £8m of funding for the Luton Vauxhall Partnership to develop the Luton Dunstable Innovation Centre and the Butterfield Technology Village, boosting the local economy after the Vauxhall plant closure.

Camden Motors is planning to open up to eight Car Shops over the next five years, having just opened its second outlet on a 10-acre site in Manchester.

Evans Halshaw is to relocate its Little Aston Porsche dealership to a larger site in Sutton Coldfield later this year.

Iveco Ford Truck is seeking permission to build a storage and inspection facility with capacity for 2,200 vehicles at the former Ince B power station site in Ellesmere Port, with the creation of about 20 jobs.

Available Car is to create a further 30 jobs at its new £11m car hypermarket in Castle Donington this year, and parent company the Graham Bell Group intends to use it as a blueprint for five more sites.

Unipart is creating 50 new jobs in its Oxford-based logistics business to work on a contract to distribute automotive parts for Halfords.

The Department of Trade & Industry has announced a £45m programme to boost the competitiveness of the car industry, including the development of an "automotive academy" to improve design expertise and production methods.

GT Precision Products is to create 50 new jobs at its factory in Peterlee, having secured the rights to produce a US-designed braking system for bus and truck engines.

Morrisons is forming a joint venture with Lookers to sell cars in supermarkets, and computer terminals have been installed in three stores to enable customers to select a car.

BMW has announced plans to invest a further £50m at its Mini plant in Oxford, with the creation of 700 jobs.

Dixon Motors is to set up a £0.3m Nissan dealership at its existing Renault showroom in Barnsley, with the creation of 15 jobs.

BMW is looking to set up satellite sites at dealerships throughout the country, in order to cope with the rising demand for after-sales and servicing.

Quinton Hazell is to close its clutch manufacturing operation in Redditch and relocate the work to its Colwyn Bay site, while production of steering and cooling equipment will be transferred to India.

JCT600 has announced plans to build a new £4.5m BMW dealership on Sticker Lane in Bradford, securing 45 existing jobs and creating 15 new jobs.

Peugeot has announced plans to add a fourth shift at its Ryton car plant near Coventry, with the creation of 700 jobs.

Nationwide Accident Repair Services, the car repair specialist, has accepted a £24m takeover bid from Guinness Peat.

Harley-Davidson, the US motorcycle company, is relocating its European headquarters and 65 staff from sites in Windsor and Brackley to the Oxford Business Park in Cowley.

Ford's Jaguar division has announced plans to build a £10m railhead at its Castle Bromwich site in Birmingham, in order to transport body panels from Halewood.

Dixon Motors has accepted a £110m takeover bid from Royal Bank of Scotland, which will enable the car dealership to exploit synergies with the Lombard asset finance division of RBS.

Lloyds TSB is to buy two contract fleet hire businesses, which lease 73,000 cars to large companies, from Abbey National for £46m.

Lex Service has sold its Lex Autocentres network of 96 vehicle servicing sites to Nationwide Autocentres for £4m.

United Engineering Forgings has sold its Kidderminster-based automotive connecting rods business out of administration to Smethwick Drop Forge, saving 70 jobs.

Ryobi of Japan is planning a £6.9m expansion at its automotive castings factory in Carrickfergus, with the creation of 76 jobs over the next three years.

Braintree District Council has approved plans from Lancaster Management Services to build a Mercedes-Benz after-sales centre at the Eastways Waterside Business Park in Witham, with the creation of about 50 jobs.

Skoda is planning to build four car showrooms this year, and has already started work on sites in Liverpool and Bradford.

CD Bramall is set to acquire Quicks, the Ford car dealer, for £40m.

Harper & Hebson is to set up a £1.5m Volkswagen and Audi dealership at the old Minories site on Carlisle's Rosehill estate, with the creation of 20 jobs.

Macrae & Dick is to invest £3m in the expansion of its Ford car and commercial vehicle business on a new 3.5-acre site in Perth.

The Motorsport Industry Association is set to receive £6m of government aid, including £3m from the DTI and £3m from regional development agencies, to encourage the development of engineering programmes and co-operation with other industries.

Fin Machine Company is creating more than 30 jobs in Sedgefield this year, having won a £4.5m contract to supply machines used to make car parts to Visteon.

Toyota is considering plans to expand production at its Burnaston car factory in Derbyshire, which could involve the addition of a third shift.

Ford has announced plans to invest £10m at its Leamington foundry, including the installation of a new moulding line and renewal of foundry equipment.

ERF is to relocate its Cheshire-based truck manufacturing operation to Germany, and parent company MAN is seeking an alternative use for the £28m factory in Middlewich.

Cybit has acquired certain assets of Fleetstar Information Systems, the vehicle fleet management system, from Trafficmaster for £1.5m.

Ryland has sold its DAF/LDV operations in Preston and Edinburgh to Lawrence Vehicles for £4.2m.

Horns is investing £1m in the expansion of its Vauxhall and Citroen dealership in Stockport, with the creation of 30 jobs.

Nissan is planning to set up a multi-million pound automotive design centre at a disused railway depot near Paddington station in London, employing 40 designers and support staff.

Ricardo is looking to spend up to £22m on acquisitions to expand its automotive design and research business, and is particularly interested in Germany.

Peugeot is looking to recruit 700 part-time and temporary workers to expand production at its Ryton car plant near Coventry, which would give the 3,000 existing workers greater freedom in timing their holidays.

Ford has announced plans to relocate production of Aston Martin cars from Newport Pagnell and Bloxham to a new plant at its Gaydon headquarters by 2008, which will involve the transfer of 600 workers.

Jensen Motors is seeking additional investment to expand production at its sports car factory in Liverpool, and would offer a substantial equity stake.

NSK Steering Systems Europe is to create 138 jobs at its Peterlee plant when the manufacture of car steering columns is relocated from Coventry in 2003, although 260 jobs will be lost in Coventry.

Mill Garages is investing £3m in two new Volvo car franchises in Leeds and Harrogate, with the creation of 60 jobs.

Lookers has acquired 452 (Birmingham) from Vauxhall Motor and the Rystar Aston and Selly Oak Vauxhall outlets from Ryland Group for a total £2m.

Manheim Auctions has acquired Tyne Tees Motor Auctions and will relocate the business to its 15-acre site in Washington.

Michelin's ATS subsidiary has sold WSTyremasters to Stapleton's Tyre Services for undisclosed terms, which will involve the transfer of six tyre distribution centres.

Sytner, the Leicester-based prestige car dealership, is to be acquired by United Auto Group of the US for £95m.

Ford is in discussions with the receivers of UPF-Thompson about plans to invest £15m in the business to ensure the continued supply of chassis components for the Land Rover.

Coventry Prototype Panels is planning to expand its 26-strong workforce and seek larger premises, having won a contract to supply automotive panels for the Spyker sports car.

Marshall's Bus is to relocate its bus manufacturing operation and 120 staff from Cambridge to the Lancaster Way Business Park at Witchford, near Ely, in May.

Optare is planning to create up to 80 jobs later this year at a new £2m production plant in Rotherham for the Alero small bus.

TRB is to invest £1m in the expansion of its car electronics factory in St Asaph, with the creation of 50 jobs.

Virgin Cars is planning to set up its first car showroom this year, at an unnamed location in the south east.

Benteler Automotive is to create 60 new jobs at its car components factory in Corby, having taken on further projects with Land Rover and Jaguar.

European Motor Holdings is planning to expand the distribution of Perodua cars imported from Malaysia, including the launch of the new Kelisa model, and its network of independent dealers will rise from 36 to 40.

Inchcape has announced plans to restructure its business by creating three new divisions that will split its UK car retail and fleet operations from its logistics and refurbishment operations.

South Lanarkshire Council is in talks with Scottish Coal about plans to create a £80m motor sport centre and business park at the Dalquhandy coalfield near Lesmahagow, with the creation of up to 600 jobs.

Elmsteel is expanding the 126-strong workforce at its automotive tube components factory in Hinckley, following its recent acquisition by Rotec of Germany.

Bridgepoint Capital is to acquire Toman Group of Germany for £80m and merge the business with its IMO Car Wash operation, creating one of the world's largest car-wash operators with 800 sites in 12 European countries.

William Jacks has sold its Savernake Mercedes-Benz dealership in Newbury to Sytner Group for £1.5m and transferred the Sunningdale Carriage company in Sunningdale to the Greenoaks Maidenhead subsidiary of Sigma Holdings.

Magna Kansei is to invest £6m in the expansion of its car dashboards factory in Sunderland, with the creation of 79 jobs.

Northgate is looking to expand its commercial vehicle hire business into continental Europe, and is seeking acquisitions in France and Spain.

Viking International, the Glasgow-based tyre distributor, and sister company National Tyre Service of Stockport have undergone an estimated £25m management buy-out from Continental of Germany, and a further 20 branches will be added to the 214-strong NTS network.

Lookers is selling its SMAC Continental Mercedes-Benz dealership in Southend for about £5m.

Ryland is acquiring a Volvo dealership in Liverpool from Drayton Motors for £1.1m and a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Newcastle from Cragside for £1.5m.

Caffyns has acquired Skinners, the Eastbourne-based Volkswagen dealer, for £1.4m.