Waylands Automotive has been awarded the Volvo franchise for Bristol – taking its partnership with the brand to five showrooms.
Revealing the news exclusively on this week’s Car Dealer Podcast, chief executive John O’Hanlon said the group would take ownership of a new site in August.
Previous franchise holders City Motors has decided not to continue its partnership with the Swedish brand, he said.
In March, Car Dealer reported that the site City Motors occupies at St Philips Causeway had been sold to a housing association for redevelopment in a £9.1m deal.
The new Waylands Volvo site is being built near Carshop’s Bristol location on Gloucester Road.
O’Hanlon told the Podcast: ‘We have been lucky enough to be granted Volvo for Bristol so as and when the new site is completed we will move in to it.
‘That should be mid-August when we take over the franchise. [With a new dealership] you’re making a 20 year commitment when you’re going for a big shiny new site and it makes a lot more sense I guess for Waylands.
‘If you go all the way down to Bristol in the future and Oxfordshire too, we have an M4 corridor.’
The Waylands boss said he was extremely excited about the opportunity in Bristol as it offers a large territory and the city has ‘a lot of ambitions towards clean air’.
He added: ‘It is a big area with a big potential, so we’re really, really excited about it and hopefully it demonstrates how committed we are to Volvo as well as Kia going forward.’
At the end of February, Waylands expanded for the first time away from Volvo with a Kia franchise in Reading.
Waylands bought the site from Pendragon after O’Hanlon first expressed his interest in the brand with Paul Philpott at the Car Dealer CDX event in 2019.
In the first month in Waylands’ hands, the Kia site has recorded ‘record sales’.
Chatting about the acquisition, O’Hanlon said: ‘It was an overnight story that took years and years.
‘We had long admired the management team at Kia. I’ve known Paul Philpott all the way back to his Toyota days, Simon Hetherington and the team do a great job. You look at how they’ve performed and every dealer says great things about them.
‘It was at a Car Dealer Expo that I had the chance to sit beside [Paul] at lunch and asked if he had any opportunities and they did.
‘This was Pendragon’s furthest point in the south so it made sense to consolidate and move further north, it was in the right area for us slap bang in the middle of Waylands territory.
‘It fits really nicely with Volvo as it’s got a lot of what is really important for us – comfort, environment, EV, and it’s not competitive to Volvo.
‘We now have a combination where we can dominate with both those brands.’
The Waylands boss says he is now looking to expand further with both brands as he sees them as complementary to one another.
He added: ‘It’s always a little bit difficult when you only have one, it’s about being important to the manufacturer and the manufacturer being important to us, so yeah I would love to do more, but would love to do more Volvo as well.
‘Volvo has been there with us from day one and at the beating heart of what we do, but there are a couple of other Volvo dealers that do Kia and Volvo too. I think it works really well.
‘We will invest more with Volvo.’
During the Car Dealer Podcast, which you can listen to on all good podcast platforms including Spotify and Apple Podcasts, the Waylands boss also gives his thoughts on Cazoo and the ‘Voltswagen’ April Fool’s Day joke that went horribly wrong.
He also revealed sales for the first quarter of 2021 were ahead like-for-like for the group on 2020.
He said: ‘It’s been really successful, whatever measure you put on us, it’s been good. We’ve actually sold more new cars than we did in Q1 2020 despite the doors being closed – we’re up 9.9 per cent.
‘Used is just gently off, we’re off three per cent, but profitability is good on what we have been selling and service is good, so we will move forward year on year despite the doors being closed.’