Motor dealer Eastern revs up with Barnetts takeover

Scotland's motor retail industry has seen further consolidation after Eastern Western Motor Group struck a deal to acquire rival Barnetts.

Barnetts is a major VW retailer. Picture: Contributed
Barnetts is a major VW retailer. Picture: Contributed

Eastern Western – one of the country’s biggest players – has purchased the entire share capital of Barnetts Motor Group, which represents Volkswagen, Mazda and Volvo from a large single site in Dundee and also Volkswagen in St Andrews.

No financial details have been disclosed for what is likely to have been a fairly substantial multi-million-pound deal.

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The Barnetts business generated sales of £65.3 million last year and returned a £1.3m pre-tax profit.

The Volvo franchise will be transferred to the John Clark Motor Group, as revealed earlier this week, and in turn Eastern Western Motor Group acquires the Nissan businesses in Dundee and Perth. Nissan in Dundee will be rehoused in the showroom vacated by Volvo.

Douglas Brown, group managing director of Eastern Holdings, Eastern Western Motor Group’s parent company, said: “We have known Paul Barnett for many years and as a result it has been a quick, professional and seamless transaction.

“Barnetts Motor Group and the Nissan franchises in Dundee and Perth will be a great addition to the Eastern Western Motor Group. It will give further depth and scale to our existing business and increase our points of representation of these franchises to five Nissan, four Volkswagen and two Mazda.

“Similar to our recent acquisitions of Grassicks BMW and Mini in Perth and Phoenix Honda in Stirling, this further cements our relationship with three of our key partners and is in line with our strategy of growing and developing the group with existing brand partners in new geographical territories.

“We look forward to welcoming Barnetts’ teams and our new Nissan teams to the group and we will continue to trade under the Barnetts name in Dundee and St Andrews as it is synonymous with quality and excellent customer service. Nissan in Perth will trade as Western Nissan.”

Barnetts Motor Group was formed when its first Volvo dealership was opened in Seagate in the early 1960s. The company has grown steadily and now employs 150 people throughout Tayside and Fife selling more than 4,000 vehicles every year and carrying out in excess of 25,000 services annually.

It is understood that Paul Barnett will turn his focus to further developing the family’s property interests through Barnetts Properties.

Eastern Western represents 12 franchises – Mercedes-Benz cars, Smart, Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles, BMW, Mini, Lexus, Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda and Harley-Davidson.