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Motor - 1998






















Pendragon is to acquire Evans Halshaw for £84m and claims that the deal will create the UK's largest car retailer by turnover.

BCH, the vehicle management company, is being acquired by ALD of Germany in a £40m deal.

Avis Europe is acquiring 3 Arrows, the provider of replacement cars for people involved in non-fault car accidents, for £40m.

ERF has reached agreement to build 2,000 trucks a year for Isuzu Motors Europe, which will create additional jobs at its plants in Sandbach and Middlewich.

Scorpion, the Ripley-based performance exhaust specialist, is planning to create 50 new jobs over the next two years and build a 10,000 sq ft plant alongside its headquarters.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is to recruit an extra 300 staff in Swansea, and will expand its site by building new offices.

Nastech Europe is to invest £9m in the expansion of its factory in Peterlee to produce a new type of steering column with integral electrical power, creating 150 jobs.

Airbags International is to create an additional 30 jobs at its vehicle airbags factory in Congleton by the end of the year.

Holdcroft Group has announced plans to set up a new car sales centre at the former Chatfield Ford site in Stoke, creating up to 170 jobs.

LucasVarity has sold its heavy vehicle braking systems division to Meritor Automotive of the US for £235m, and the proceeds will be used on further acquisitions.

Kautex Unipart, a joint venture between Unipart and Kautex Textron UK, is opening a new £19m factory in Coventry to make plastic automotive fuel systems, creating 150 jobs.

Lucas Rists is to recruit an additional 100 workers at its automotive components factory in Newcastle-under-Lyme, having won a contract to supply the new Rover 75 with wiring harnesses and fuseboxes.

TRB, a division of Tokai Rika of Japan, is to set up a £6m automotive components factory in St Asaph, North Wales, creating 150 jobs.

Heil Europe is planning to invest £5m building a refuse lorry factory at Sandiacre in the East Midlands, creating 140 jobs.

Toyoda TRW Steering Pumps has moved into its new factory in the Neath Valley, where it will make power steering pumps and create more than 200 jobs.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car of the US has acquired Mitchell's Self Drive, the Aberdeen-based self-drive vehicle business, for £10m.

Dixon Motors has sold its parts distribution operation to Speedpart for an initial £9.5m.

Newpress Plastics is to double the size of its Ebbw Vale factory and increase staffing levels by 40%, having won a contract to become sole UK agents for Polymer-Chemie's foams used in the automotive industry.

AFN of Reading is to set up a new Audi centre in Portsmouth, creating more than 20 jobs.

Carcraft Group of Lancashire has bought Empress Cars, the South Wales-based car sales company, from the receivers and the new business will trade as Carcraft Empress.

ATS Euromaster is planning to build a £7m tyre-fitting customer service centre in Birmingham, creating 250 jobs.

Reliant Motors is preparing to move its car manufacturing operation to Burntwood, Staffordshire, creating 100 new jobs, and it is also looking to open a factory on the Continent in order to co-operate with other small vehicle manufacturers.

Alchemy Partners, the venture capital company, is acquiring Envirotest Systems in a £450m deal that will combine the US vehicle emissions testing company with Wellman's US division.

Albion Automotive, the Glasgow-based auto components supplier, has been acquired by American Axle & Manufacturing of the US for a sum thought to be around £20m.

Mears Group is acquiring United Fleet Distribution, the vehicle distributor, for £2m.

Keddy Services, the Grimsby-based company that refurbishes company cars for Nissan and VW, is to expand its site on the South Humberside Industrial Estate and create more than 50 new jobs.

Pi Technology, the Cambridge-based developer of software for the motor industry, is to create a further 120 jobs by forming a partnership with Ford-owned Visteon Automotive Systems.

Nissan has confirmed plans to go-ahead with a £200m project to build a third model at its Sunderland car factory, and an extra 800 jobs will be created.

Reg Vardy is to open a Nissan car dealership in Stockton next year, creating 30 jobs.

Unipres is to recruit a further 150 employees at its car parts plant in Sunderland, in order to support the nearby Nissan plant as it prepares to launch the new Almera in year 2000.

Triplex has acquired Peak Automotive for £33m, as part of a strategy to become a leading supplier of automotive components.

Kwik-Fit is acquiring Speedy Europe, the tyre and exhaust chain with 568 outlets across Europe including 376 in France, from SMK of Canada for £105m.

Jaguar Cars Worldwide is planning to set up a £1.5m showroom in Portadown, Northern Ireland, through its Charles Hurst franchise, creating 20 jobs.

Antolin-Irausa of Spain is planning to build a £12m factory in Ramsgate, Kent, to make interior trim for cars, creating 230 jobs.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK has begun a £150m project to set up a new castings factory in Flintshire to supply cylinder heads for its Derbyshire car plant, creating 60 jobs.

EPC of the US is to build a £2.2m car parts factory in Blaenau Gwent, creating 72 jobs.

UPF Group, the auto parts company, is to undergo a £43m management buy-out with the backing of UBS, the Swiss bank.

Leyland Trucks is to build up to 4,500 trucks a year for its sister company Daf of the Netherlands, creating about 300 extra jobs at its Lancashire plant.

International Radiators, the manufacturing division of Partco, is to set up a new factory in the newly constructed Grove Park at Enderby, and 200 jobs will be transferred from the existing factory at nearby Narborough.

Red Dot Corp, the US producer of air conditioning for heavy-duty vehicles, is to open a European headquarters in Ipswich.

Britax International is selling its Autolease vehicle management business to Standard Chartered for £83m, and its Dutch vehicle leasing and dealership business to Pon Holdings for £2.7m, in order to complete its withdrawal from the motor trade.

Axus UK, part of Ford Financial Services Group, is to acquire ACR, the vehicle contract hire business, from Alexanders for £14m, which will allow Alexanders to focus on motor dealerships.

Autologic is acquiring Mansped, the distributor of car parts, from United Carriers for £2.3m, as well as Connection Freight for £0.9m.

Toyota is said to be planning to double UK production of two of its most successful cars over the next five years, creating 2,000 new jobs at its Burnaston plant near Derby.

Dixon Motors has bought the Ford franchise for Bury in Lancashire from Quicks Group for £119,000.

Parkland Group is selling its Autofil automotive textiles business to management and a computerised dye house in Nottinghamshire to a property investment trust, for a total £13.7m.

Firstserve Group is being set up to create the largest van distribution fleet in Europe, through the acquisition of Caverdale's industrial products division for £10m and the purchases of Gemmoco in Leeds and QMS in Kent for a further £11.6m.

Jaguar Cars has won a £43m aid package from the EU to produce the new X-400 model at Halewood, which could result in the creation of 1,000 new jobs.

Jacobs Holdings has bought Kenfield and JP Holdings, two vehicle recovery companies, for £2.7m.

First National Vehicle Holdings, the Abbey National subsidiary, is acquiring Fleet Management Services, the fleet car hire company, for undisclosed terms.

Volkswagen has agreed the £117m purchase of Cosworth, the high performance engine maker, from Vickers, and is to sell the motor sport division on to Ford for £50m.

Vauxhall is to increase production of the Astra by 20% to 160,000 cars a year by adding a third shift at its Ellesmere Port factory, creating 1,000 jobs.

Dixon Motors has acquired Cosmopolitan Motors, the London motorcycle dealership, for £1.5m, which takes its number of motorcycle outlets to eight.

Doncasters has sold the automotive components business of its recently-acquired Triplex Lloyd division to the Phildrew venture capital group for £80m.

Sytner Group has acquired the Guy Salmon car dealership from Meteor for £6.4m, which will add Jaguar and Honda to its portfolio.

Honda Motor of Japan is to invest a further £450m at its Swindon factory to build a compact hatchback, creating about 1,000 jobs.

Reg Vardy has made a £36m offer for Trust Motor Group, in order to expand its car dealership business in Yorkshire, Scotland and Nottingham.

Creative Group of Redditch is planning to resurrect the Jensen sports car brand, with the launch of a new model by the end of 1999.

Vickers shareholders have decided to sell Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to Volkswagen for £430m, thereby rejecting rival offers from BMW and Crewe Motors.

Hill Hire, the truck and trailer rental group, is planning to open three more regional centres over the next two years and is currently looking for sites in the West Midlands and the south west.

Rover is creating 1,000 jobs in order to produce its new executive car at its Cowley plant in Oxford, and is expanding capacity to build 150,000 units a year.

Car Group is opening a car retail site in Manchester offering 1,000 nearly-new vehicles, and will also open sites in London and the Sheffield-Nottingham area later this year.

Unipart and Halfords have both announced plans to move into the vehicle fleet management sector, using their national networks of car servicing and repair outlets to offer a "one-stop shop" for fleet managers.

Finelist is acquiring Bancrofts, the automotive paints distributor, from McLeod Russel for £16m.

Volkswagen has overtaken BMW in the race to acquire Rolls-Royce Motor Cars from Vickers with a recommended bid of £430m, and bids from the two companies are expected to be put to Vickers shareholders on June 4.

Partco has acquired SVG, the supplier of automotive body panels, for £4.5m.

Cendant of the US looks set to acquire the RAC motoring services business for £450m, which it will be able to merge with the recently-acquired Green Flag vehicle recovery service to create a powerful rival to the Automobile Association.

Goode Durrant is selling its Ravenstock Tam equipment hire business to management for £26m, in order to focus on its commercial vehicle hire business.

Wagon Industrial has acquired YMOS Door Systems, the German maker of car doors, for £46m.

Paccar of the US has acquired Leyland Trucks for undisclosed terms, as part of its expansion into the European truck manufacturing sector.

DC Cook is to buy Pendragon's Motown multi-franchise car dealership and used car business in Derby for £7m.

National Parking Corporation, the owner of 500 car parks and the Green Flag recovery service, is being acquired by Cendant of the US in a £801m deal.

Toad is acquiring Sextons, the distributor of car stereo and security systems, for £10m, and says the deal will make it the largest car electronics company in the UK.

Kwik-Fit is looking to expand its car parts business into other European countries, including Germany and Scandinavia, and has also announced plans to double the number of staff selling motor insurance in the UK.

Daewoo of South Korea is forming a £160m joint venture with LDV of Birmingham to build up to 80,000 medium and heavy vans per year, creating about 2,000 jobs.

Finelist is acquiring Lucas Service UK, the distributor of vehicle parts, from LucasVarity for £33m, which will improve its position in the market for diesel engine and fuel injection parts.

Mayflower has sold its Ribbons seat belt subsidiary to a company set up by Gresham Trust for £6.5m.

Avon Rubber is acquiring Cow Polymers, the maker of rubber mouldings for the auto industry, from Unipoly Industrials for £10m.

Finelist is acquiring Independent Parts Group, the maker of vehicle components, for £38m, and expects the deal will generate cost savings and efficiencies in distribution.

Nakagawa Sangyo of Japan is to set up a factory to make fibreglass components for car exhausts in Corby, creating 120 jobs.

Kyoshin Shoji of Japan is to build a factory to make foam for car interiors in Mansfield, creating 70 jobs.

Land Rover is to support a £122m investment programme to expand its dealer network, which will include new showrooms, workshops, off-road courses, and the creation of 1,200 jobs.

TransTec is to acquire Cremsa, the Spanish car parts maker, for up to £27m, in order to gain its first manufacturing base in continental Europe.

DC Cook has acquired Peter Marson & Sons and Marson Garages (Wolstanton), the Newcastle-under-Lyme Renault dealership, for £2.1m.

Land Rover is adding a further 400 jobs at its Solihull plant to cope with strong demand for the new Freelander vehicle, and the company is expecting production to reach 80,000 units a year.

LucasVarity has sold two starter motor and alternator businesses, with plants in London, Argentina and South Africa, to Prestolite Electric of Michigan for an initial £25m.

Aisin Seiki of Japan is to build a £5m car parts plant in Birmingham to produce oil and water pumps for Toyota, creating 100 jobs.

Toyota has confirmed plans to invest £150m at its Deeside plant in north Wales to make engines for the new car that will be built in France, creating 310 jobs, and the move could prompt Japanese component makers to set up UK subsidiaries.

Ford has announced that Halewood will be used to produce the new Jaguar X400 small car, which will safeguard 1,800 jobs on Merseyside and create up to 400 engineering jobs in Coventry.