Phil Weaver, via promotional videoPhil Weaver, via promotional video


Independent used car dealership Phil Weaver Automotive to close after six years

  • Phil Weaver Automotive calls it a day
  • Used car dealership has been trading since 2018
  • Change in lease arrangement prompts decision
  • IMDA co-founder thanks people for friendship and support
  • He’ll be considering his options and will be back in due course

Time 2:20 pm, February 26, 2024

Top used car dealership Phil Weaver Automotive is closing after six years.

The award-winning Preston-based independent business was established in March 2018 and named Retailer of the Year by Auto Trader last year, while in 2022 it scooped Auto Trader’s Customer Choice trophy.

Weaver, 57, pictured, made the announcement via LinkedIn at the weekend, in which he praised suppliers and customers.

‘Over the years, Phil Weaver Automotive has not only been a business but a community of valued customers, trusted suppliers, and dear friends.

‘Your support and loyalty have been the driving force behind the success and longevity of this venture, and for that I am sincerely grateful,’ he wrote.

‘However, whilst reflecting with immense pride on our many successes over the years and the awards and accreditations earned, I find the time is now right to bid farewell to our Phil Weaver Automotive journey as we know it, with a truly genuine appreciation of the incredible ride we’ve had together.

‘I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in pastures new.

‘Your friendship and support have meant the world to me, and I am eager to carry the lessons learned and memories shared into the next chapter.’

His post has drawn many responses from well-wishers showering compliments on him.

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Weaver, a founder member of the IMDA, told Car Dealer that the lease on the site in The Marshes Lane was coming up for renewal and a change to the terms had prompted his decision.

He said Phil Weaver Automotive will effectively finish on March 19, which is when the lease is due for renewal, but he is actually looking to get everything sorted by the end of this week.

Although having had what he called ‘a great relationship’ with the landlord, he faced being tied to a five-year fixed-term agreement at a higher monthly rent. He didn’t want to commit to that so decided not to renew the lease.

‘I understand it from his point of view, though. He has a few properties very similar to mine and he’s looked after the tenants, but obviously he’s a businessman and the properties are mortgaged and there’s been an increase in interest rates.

‘So from a business point of view he’s had to do the right thing and that was looking for commitment for another five-year period and increase in rent, which didn’t sit well with me.

‘I’ll be in my early 60s when I come out of the agreement and I just thought what with the way everything is currently within the industry, with changes afoot, I just think I’ve made the right decision in the interim.’

And he said that although the dealership won’t be at the site after March 19, that’s not to say Phil Weaver Automotive won’t be popping up again in a different form in the very near future.

‘I’ve got a lot of loyal followers, customers, suppliers and motor trade colleagues and acquaintances, and I thought it was right to put that note out to let people know that I would be ceasing Phil Weaver Automotive in its current guise at the end of February.

‘Once I’ve given the keys back for the property, I’m going to take a little bit of time out over the next month or two to reflect on the situation and then just see what comes up. You never know in this industry about the opportunities that may come my way.’

But he added that he wasn’t looking to replace one building with another. ‘I won’t be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire! I think it’s all come at the right time.’

Weaver said: ‘We’ve had six great years. Business has grown year on year.’

The third quarter last year had been tough, he said, but this year had started with a great first quarter, and winning the Auto Trader award last October meant they were ‘going out on a high’.

He said: ‘We’ve set off on the right track with some great business done in January and February so far. It’s just that I’ve taken the time to consider my moves without having to go down the route of the extended lease and the extended costs.

‘The timing was just right really to make that move and pull myself away for a short period of time and pop up maybe working with somebody or for somebody or maybe even back on my own.

‘The future’s bright, anyway, and I’m going out on a high and we’ll see what materialises in the short term.’

Phil Weaver Automotive is purely a sales operation and has no staff, so there are no employee implications.

Weaver has worked in the motor industry since leaving school at 16. He was involved in sales with OMC Ford from 1987 to 1999, then became an Evans Halshaw dealer principal with Pendragon between April 1999 and September 2008.

He left Pendragon to establish used car outlet Knickerbrook in Chorley the same month. That ran for almost 10 years before going into voluntary liquidation, and Phil Weaver Automotive was incorporated in March 2018.

The showroom gets its vehicles from a wide network of main dealer groups and private sellers as well as from specialist car dealers, which it says ensures it has a big range of high-quality vehicles for preferences and budgets across the spectrum.

Main image via Phil Weaver Automotive promotional video and used by kind permission

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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