Former Pendragon CEO Trevor Finn has built a war chest of investment cash to help digital automotive businesses get off the ground – and he’s on the hunt for opportunities.
Finn has registered the company New World Automotive and already has people on the books helping him with a number of projects.
Speaking exclusively to Car Dealer Magazine today, Finn said he has lined up investors from ‘all over the world’ who are keen to put cash into automotive businesses in the UK.
He said: ‘There is a lot of investment money out there for automotive, but they want to do it differently. These investors see traditional dealers as a troubled breed and are looking at what it could look like in the future.
‘The UK is seen as a safe place to invest. There is good company law here, international markets like the UK and industry people outside of the UK like this market. It’s seen as a vibrant market.’
Finn – who left Pendragon after 30 years with the company in March 2019 – recently announced on social media he was plotting a return to the industry with a used car offering.
He told Car Dealer today: ‘I absolutely want to be buying and selling used cars. It is a big market and there is space to do things differently.
‘I have had the luxury of 12 months out of the game being able to look at the business differently and think if I started from scratch how would I do it.’
He said that this vehicle would ‘absolutely be online’ as ‘no one buys things over the phone any more’ and he thinks a good dealership could ‘easily compete online with the biggest marketplaces’.
Finn described his old job as like ‘steering a huge battleship’ and wants his new investment business to be quicker and agile.
‘If I use the analogy of my old job being the captain on a big battleship, now I want to be releasing lots of fast, nimble speed boats into the water instead,’ he said.
‘What those speedboats are, I don’t know yet. But we’ve interested in investing in businesses that are automotive and may want expertise or capital, or one day might want to sell out to someone completely.
‘We can help open doors. We have great contacts from manufacturers to distributors to suppliers and can help businesses flourish. We have the investment in place for the right businesses.’
Finn alluded to the fact he was creating a digital-only used car operation but would not give details yet.
‘We are talking to lots of people about used cars and some people may have parts of the jigsaw we need and why wouldn’t we work with them?’ he said.
Finn would neither ‘confirm nor deny’ Car Dealer Magazine’s report that he and Peter Waddell had been in talks, something Waddell hinted at during his recent Car Dealer Live interview.
Finn added: ‘We are speaking to lots of people.
‘We are also looking at the marketplace as a whole. I think there are cleverer ways of being the big fish in a town online without having to compete nationally.
‘There are too many people taking a slice of the profit out of current used car retailing and all independents are looking to cut costs. I think there are opportunities we can help there too.’
Finn wouldn’t reveal how much cash he has at his disposal but said ‘you would be amazed at how much money is out there for automotive’.
He added: ‘Some people have done their homework and found me. There are plenty of overseas investors looking to spend money.
‘We are now working out where to spend our time, energy and money now.’
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