Volvo Car UK franchisee Clive Brook has handed over the keys to his car dealerships in Bradford and Huddersfield to Ray Chapman Motors – ending a “fantastic journey” in automotive retail.
Yorkshire-based Ray Chapman Motors took its representation of the Swedish brand to four locations – adding to its existing sites in Malton and York – with a deal that was officially completed today (February 1).
Commenting on his decision to retire through the sale to the current Volvo Retailer of the Year, Brook said: “After nearly 40 years of working and 15 years of building and developing the Clive Brook brand, the time has now come for me to retire and to pass on our much-loved business, team members and loyal customers, into the capable and enthusiastic hands of the Chapman family.
“Much has changed in the motor trade over the years, and I’m very excited for Clive Brook Ltd to benefit from the scale and resources of being part of a successful and dynamic, but most importantly, family retailer group.
“I wish Duncan, the Chapman family, and the wider Ray Chapman team every success in the future.”
Car retail legacy
Ray Chapman Motors MD Duncan Chapman said: “Clive has created a motoring retailer legacy in the North over the last few decades, and we look forward to continuing the exceptional experience, trust, and relationships that he has built with Volvo drivers in Bradford and Huddersfield.”
The deal was managed by David Kendrick and his automotive team at UHY Hacker Young who represented Clive Brook.
Kendrick said: “The two sites fit perfectly with Chapmans and now allows them to become a significant partner with Volvo. I don’t think this will be the last of the regional consolidation plays this year – it’s a time to Go or Grow for dealerships out there.”
Two-site Clive Brook Volvo delivered turnover up 9.6% at £55.3 million and pre-tax profits up 51.2% at 1.1m in its most recent annual financial results, to December 31, 2021.
AM reported last summer on Brook’s decision to axe plans to relocate his Bradford Volvo dealership, on Canal Road, into a former Jaguar showroom previously operated by Appleyards, Jardine Motors Group and Farnell as a result of “complex existing lease arrangements and an increase in construction costs”.
He told AM that Ray Chapman Motors now plans to proceed with that plan and invest in the group’s used car offering.
In a 2016 AM dealer profile feature Brook reflected on a career in automotive which came full circle when he completed the 2015 acquisition of the Volvo Huddersfield dealership where he started his career as an apprentice technician.
Reflecting on his career this week, however, he suggested that his route through the sector might be harder to take in future.
“For me, I think it is harder than ever to do what I did and make that full journey and acquire a business from previous occupants having gone it alone, but it’s been a fantastic journey,” Brook said.
“Speaking to the employees in my business about my career – trying to pass on that knowledge – has been one of my great passions in recent times.”
Brook, now aged 59 and planning to spend more time with his grandchild and volunteer with a charity run by his son-in-law – Olympic gold medal-winning triathlete Jonny Brownlee’s – during his retirement, revealed that he had seen Volvo’s shift to agency model retail as a challenge.
“I think the one thing that the manufacturers perhaps don’t understand very well is that, while many franchisees are focussed on the return they can achieve, many are passionate about the sector and just love the process,” he told AM.
“That’s something I’ve struggled with, because it seems the OEMs want to take that away.”
Earlier this week AM reported that Volvo Car UK had taken the decision to delay its roll-out of agency model retail into the UK market – its pilot region for the new direct-to-consumer distribution model – from April to July.