Group 1 acquires Mercedes-Benz, smart dealerships; appoints UK operations head

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Group 1 Automotive recently announced Mercedes-Benz and Smart franchise acquisitions from U.K.-based Robinsons Motor Group. The dealer group has also appointed Darren Guiver to serve as its U.K. operations managing director, a move that was effective Thursday.

The company acquired three smart franchises and five Mercedes-Benz franchises.

During Group 1’s quarterly conference call on Feb. 8, the company discussed looking for new-car dealership “opportunities” in the U.S., U.K. and Brazil markets.

The company has increased its U.K. operations to 47 dealerships, which includes 12 existing brands.

“We are pleased to further expand our global relationship with Mercedes-Benz through the addition of these five dealerships to our growing UK platform,” Group 1 chief executive officer Earl Hesterberg explained in a new release.

Group 1 said that it expects to generate an approximate $260 million in annualized revenues from the acquisition.

The newly acquired dealerships are located northeast of London in Suffolk and East Anglia and neighbor several other existing Group 1 dealerships in the area.

Meanwhile, in his new role as head of U.K. operations, Guiver will report directly to Hesterberg.

Following the sale of his dealer group, Spire Automotive, Guiver joined Group 1 in February 2016.

“Darren is a highly experienced retail operator with a proven track record of success,” Hesterberg said. “My top management team and I have complete confidence that Darren is the right person for this role.  He and I have been working together almost daily for the past two years so we expect this transition to be seamless.”

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