Vehicle dealership acquisition creates £300m turnover group

Long-established Suzuki dealer, Colin Appleyard Ltd, has been acquired by Leeds-headquartered DM Keith Motor Group for an undisclosed sum.

Colin Appleyard which represents Suzuki in Bradford, Keighley, Ashton-Under-Lyne and Huddersfield was initially founded by the late Colin Appleyard in 1971 and run by his son Robin Appleyard since 2010.

The acquisition involves DM Keith’s first venture with Suzuki.

DM Keith has expanded substantially over the last decade, most recently acquiring Ringways Ford and Kia in Leeds back in 2021.

Its latest acquisition sees the group grow to 19 businesses across 14 sites, with an anticipated 2024 turnover expected to be more than £300m. 

Dougal Keith, managing director of DM Keith, said: “We have been growing steadily over the last few years as part of our vision of being in the top 50 Motor Groups.

“Now with the Ringways acquisition now well bedded in, the acquisition of Colin Appleyard comes at a perfect time, allowing us to expand further within the territory and gives us a scaled entry point with Suzuki.

“My senior leadership team and I have been considering other brands for some time now and Suzuki has been one we have seriously considered having seen its success and growth.

“We are very excited about the future and look forward to welcoming the Colin Appleyard team into the DM Keith Group.” 

Robin Appleyard said: “The business has been a huge part of our family all my life and I have enjoyed every minute and worked with some fantastic people.

“Both my sons have successful careers of their own, so with no succession and seeing the continued consolidation the time was right for me to step back.

“We are pleased to have agreed a deal with DM Keith who hold many similar values to us as a business.

“I’d like to thank the Colin Appleyard team and Suzuki  who have always been great to work alongside and am confident they will continue to be very successful. I wish Dougal, Angus and the team all the best in the future.”

The deal was managed by David Kendrick and his automotive team at UHY Hacker Young, who represented Colin Appleyard with the sale.

Kendrick said: “Colin Appleyard is one of the most successful and largest Suzuki dealer groups in the UK.

“They have an amazing brand and reputation, and it makes absolute sense for DM Keith to add this business to their growing portfolio.

“I have no doubt the business will continue to grow and flourish as part of a bigger group as well as giving Robin and the shareholders a well-earned retirement.

“It certainly won’t be the last deal of the year, never have I seen so much activity in my 20 years of automotive M&A.”

The sellers were legally represented by Steven Millward of Schofield Sweeney. Gordons LLP were the advisers for DM Keith.

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