Dealership group Arnold Clark loses Toyota franchise in western Scotland to Vertu Motors

  • It’s believed UK’s largest family-run dealer group has lost its Toyota franchise
  • Vertu Motors has been awarded the franchise and will develop four Toyota dealerships
  • Comes off the back of rumours Arnold Clark has been put on notice with Ford

Time 8:30 am, February 16, 2022

Arnold Clark is believed to have lost its Toyota franchise in the west of Scotland, with Vertu Motors picking up the business.

An announcement via the London Stock Exchange this morning (Feb 16) said Vertu Motors has been handed the franchise for the Japanese carmaker in the area.

It comes off the back of rumours that Arnold Clark has been handed a two-year notice from Ford.

Arnold Clark, which is the UK’s largest family-run dealer group, has six dealerships in the west of Scotland, covering Aberdeen, Ayr, East Kilbride, Bishopsbriggs, Linwood and Stirling.

The statement from Vertu Motors said it will ‘develop’ four dealerships to cover this ‘extensive territory’.

The dealerships will be run under Vertu’s Scottish trading name, Macklin Motors. Opening first will be a showroom in Darnley, south Glasgow, on April 1.

Vertu already has Ford and Nissan dealerships in Darnley, along with a Motornation used car showroom.

That suggests the new deal between Vertu and Toyota will involve the listed dealer group building new sites and redeveloping existing facilities, rather than buying the former Arnold Clark showrooms.

The new deal will bring Vertu’s representation with the Japanese carmaker to seven sites.

Vertu acquired two profitable Toyota dealerships in the East Midlands in December 2021.

Vertu chief executive Robert Forrester said today (Feb 16): ‘I am delighted to announce our expansion in Scotland and the addition of Toyota to the company under our Macklin Motors brand.

‘Toyota is a world-renowned manufacturer that we’re delighted to represent.

‘We have confidence that its investment and wider strategy will make it one of the most successful automotive manufacturers in the UK in the coming decade.’

He added: ‘The addition of these dealerships augments the group’s representation in Scotland under the Macklin Motors brand and expands our operational footprint there.

‘It also demonstrates our confidence in both the future of the automotive retail sector and in Scotland’s economy.’

Paul Marshall, general manager of network development for Toyota GB, said: ‘We are delighted to be expanding our operations with Vertu Motors plc through their Macklin Motors operation in this key geographic region, and are looking forward to developing several new exciting facilities for our customers.’

Commenting on the deal, investment banking operation Zeus Capital said: ‘This is good news from a portfolio brand perspective as well as its [Vertu Motors’] expansion in Scotland through the Macklin Motors brand.

‘We continue to believe the shares are undervalued following share price weakness of late and await a trading update early next month.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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