Arden BMW Group MaidstoneArden BMW Group Maidstone


Jardine Motors’ American owner Lithia swoops on UK BMW dealer group

  • Deal announced today of sale of Arden BMW Group
  • It confirms rumours initially reported by Car Dealer
  • Lithia Motors said it was actively seeking UK acquisition targets after Jardine purchase
  • Acquisition makes perfect sense, says UHY Hacker Young, which managed the deal

Time 8:49 am, September 1, 2023

Jardine Motors’ American parent company Lithia & Driveway has swooped on another British business.

The firm has sealed a deal to buy Arden BMW, Mini and Motorrad, in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, it was announced this morning, confirming rumours reported earlier today by Car Dealer.

Jardine Motors and Arden BMW both initially declined the opportunity to comment on the rumours when contacted by Car Dealer. Neither denied the claims and an official statement was believed to be imminent.

BMW UK has been contacted for comment.

The Arden businesses will join the existing Jardine Motors Group led by UK regional president Neil Williamson.

A source told Car Dealer earlier: ‘This shows some real intent from Lithia and is part of the building blocks of a much bigger dealer group. Lithia has big ambitions for the UK and this is just the start.’

Williamson said in a statement issued this morning: ‘Following Lithia & Driveway’s entrance into the UK with the Jardine Motors Group earlier this year, we have always stated our desire to grow.

‘Bringing the teams from both Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells together with our existing BMW and Mini businesses in Bury and Milton Keynes further strengthens our ability to serve customers with these exciting brands.

‘Our collective efforts will help deliver on our aspirations across the UK and supports our mission of Growth Powered by People.’

The deal was managed by David Kendrick and his automotive team at UHY Hacker Young who represented Arden Group.

Kendrick said: ‘The acquisition of Arden makes complete sense for Jardine as it complements their portfolio as well as expanding their relationship with BMW and Mini significantly.

‘Ross [Taylor – head of business] and his team at Arden have built a leading business with strong profitability that will no doubt continue under its new group ownership.’

Accounts for Arden Maidstone Limited, which take into account the performance of that site, show it turned over £76.2m in 2021 and made £2.2m profit before tax.

Lithia Motors said it was actively looking for acquisition targets after it took the reins of luxury car dealer group Jardine in March.

The US giants swept on Jardine in a £300m deal in March after a failed bid to buy listed car dealer group Pendragon last summer.

Lithia was blocked from buying Pendragon by Hedin, one of its largest shareholders, which in turn launched its own aborted bid to buy the group.

Lithia turned its attention to 50-dealership group Jardine – which represents luxury brands including Aston Martin, Ferrari, Maserati, McLaren and Porsche.

In its accounts for 2022, Jardine said that following the change in control of the company on March 15, the group is now looking to expand.

The firm said: ‘The group’s operational focus is to continue to grow with its selected premium and luxury franchise partners whether organically or through acquisition where real value opportunities arise. 

‘A key part of this growth plan is through customer and employee retention and continued investment in delivering an exceptional customer retail experience.

‘[The group will] actively seek acquisition targets within the UK with both existing and new franchise partners.’

Jardine employs some 2,800 staff across its combined businesses.

This story was first published at 8.49am on September 1 and updated at 10.45am the same day following confirmation of the deal

Image credit: Arden BMW Maidstone, Google Street View

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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