Richmond Motor Group has struck a deal with Sparshatts to buy their franchised dealerships. The move means Sparshatts will exit the franchised dealer market while keeping its non-franchised used car operation. The deal covers two Skoda sites, one Suzuki site and one Mitsubishi dealership, split between Fareham and Botley. All staff affected will keep their jobs with one of the businesses.

The franchised dealerships will be rebranded under the Richmond name. A number of Sparshatts directors have kept the company name and its non-franchised used car outlets.

Richmond Motor Group is led by sole owner, founder and managing director Michael Nobes. Based in Farlington, Portsmouth, it has 12 franchised locations and one used car supermarket, covering an area from South West London to Southampton. It employs more than 500 people locally.

The business has plans to add another four franchise locations in the next 12 months.

Mr Nobes said: “The acquisition is key to diversifying the group’s portfolio to ensure long term resilience in a tough UK market.

“Despite a general downturn in the UK automotive sector, all our existing businesses have seen significant year on year growth. Thats a testament to the fantastic team of people we employ.

“We intend to apply many of the Richmond cutting edge processes to the Sparshatts business to leverage profitability and returns.”

Operations director Sam Nobes said: “Richmond has a number of unique ways of operating that put us significantly ahead of other dealer groups in the way we market our business.

“Our entire business is about delivering an exceptional customer experience and treating our colleagues and customers like friends. We are a quarter billion-pound company and have ambitions to multiply the size of the group over coming years.”

In a joint statement, Louis Jones, managing director of Sparshatts and Michael Nobes said: “This is a deal that works for everyone. Richmond acquire the franchised businesses to diversify their portfolio of brands allowing an exit strategy for some of the Sparshatts directors whilst others can reinvest and expand in a consolidated used car business”.

“It works for all the brands involved but importantly all  existing staff are retained.”