A Helston based family run car dealer has been bought by a leading UK automotive retail group as part of a buy up of 28 franchises for £117million.

Vertu Motors plc announced it has agreed to acquire, subject to FCA regulatory approval, Helston Garages Group Limited.

Helston Garages has 37 franchise dealerships throughout Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset

Vertu has acquired 28 of these franchised sales outlets, saying it adds significant scale and geographic coverage to the group’s existing footprint of 160 franchised outlets.

Helston Garages has been a family run business for over 60 years, building up a network of high-quality dealerships across Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, operating under several brands including Westerly, Carrs and Truscotts. 

It was previously owned by David Carr, before his death in February this year. 

The newly acquired franchises will be rebranded as Vertu Motors and Bristol Street Motors brands. However the actual Helston Garages site in Meneage Street has been bought by Yeomans and rebranded as such.

The purchase of the group by Vertu has been financed through a combination of renegotiated and new debt facilities.

Of the 28 sales outlets acquired, the majority are with premium automotive manufacturers: four Land Rover, five BMW, one BMW Motorrad, five MINI, three Jaguar, five Volvo, one Ferrari, and four Peugeot.

Vertu says Helston radically enhances the Group’s scale and reach into the South West of England. Following the acquisition, Vertu will have 32 sales outlets in the region, up from the current four.

The group says it has an established track record of integrating new businesses and will use this expertise to ensure systems and operational processes are integrated by the end of March 2023.

The group will introduce its Click2Drive digital platform, including its award-winning websites, to the acquired dealerships.

Vertu says it has strong relationships with its manufacturer partners, and the addition of Helston into the group will strengthen relationships with key partners such as BMW, MINI, Stellantis and Jaguar Land Rover. Volvo and Ferrari will join the Manufacturers represented by the group.

Robert Forrester, Chief Executive Officer of Vertu Motors, said: “We are delighted that Vertu Motors has agreed to acquire Helston and 28 dealerships, further evidence of the execution of our long-term strategy to build scale, geographic coverage and deepen our relationships with our key automotive Manufacturers.

"We are particularly pleased that we have received strong support for the acquisition from our Manufacturer Partners and our lending banks to support the deal. Volvo and Ferrari are introduced to our portfolio, which is a very proud moment for the Group.

“Helston has a long track record of delivering strong profitability and we have admired the Group for a long time. The acquisition will be both financially and strategically accretive for Vertu Motors, delivering long term value creation for our shareholders. We now have 32 dealerships in the South West, which becomes a core region.

“I am delighted to welcome so many new colleagues to the Group and look forward to integrating Helston and the team into Vertu Motors, particularly introducing our digital expertise.

“While there is uncertainty in the UK economy today, we continue to invest for the long-term and remain excited about the future for Vertu Motors.”