Car retailer Lookers set to drive growth in Scotland

Steve Dean, of Lookers Audi, says the businesss workforce in Scotland has grown from 400 to 500. Picture: contributed

Steve Dean, of Lookers Audi, says the businesss workforce in Scotland has grown from 400 to 500. Picture: contributed

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Lookers Audi is mulling the acquisition of further sites in Scotland in a twin-track strategy alongside organic growth as it targets turnover of £385 million north of the Border this year.

Steve Dean, franchise director for the business, the Audi division of car retailer Lookers, said the business had sites in Glasgow, Ayr, Stirling and Edinburgh, and last year added its £3.5m, 6.5 acre Audi Approved Hamilton centre.

That created at least 30 new jobs and is one of the largest Audi Approved sites in Europe.

Lookers bought four Audi dealerships formerly trading under the Lomond Group banner in 2012, and Dean said the division has subsequently experienced “great growth and it continues to grow. I thought in 2016 we might hit a bit of a plateau, but I’m afraid not.”

He also said that Brexit is not having an impact on the business. “To be honest, things like that just have a way of sorting themselves out over a period of time. There’s no point in panicking in the very short term,” he said, adding that there in fact is “nothing to panic over”.

His dismissal of the threat of Brexit echoes comments by other motoring retailers such as Macklin Motors owner Vertu, which earlier this month assured investors that its performance for the year will meet expectations, adding that “thousands of continental jobs are reliant on a continuation of this trade with the UK”.

That said, sales of new cars slipped into reverse in June, with the sharpest fall north of the Border, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The organisation said: “There is no doubt that the pre-referendum uncertainty has caused unease within the market place for new 
vehicles.”

However, Dean said the division was currently assessing the location of any additional sites, and said: “We believe Scotland’s a great place for us to invest in further businesses and further acquisitions if they are available.”

He explained that the business has gone from “just shy” of 400 full-time staff to more than 500 in Scotland.

“That’s a great thing for our business and a great thing for Scotland as well,” he says, adding that if current growth continues, headcount could well reach 600 within a couple of years.

The Lookers Audi boss added: “I would say Scotland performs as well as, if not better than, some of the other areas that we represent in the UK.”

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