Donnelly takes over Suzuki dealership from competitor
Northern Ireland motoring giant Donnelly Group has acquired a Suzuki dealership in south Belfast from a rival.
It's bought over the Boucher Road, SMW Suzuki showroom from Agnew Group for an undisclosed sum.
The deal is Donnelly's second big acquisition over the last year after it bought Vauxhall specialist Gormley Motors in Omagh in 2016.
But the deal comes against a backdrop of falling sales in the industry. There was a 5% fall in car sales here in September, based on the same period a year earlier, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The Boucher Road showroom - now renamed Donnelly Suzuki - is the company's third showcasing the Japanese brand of cars, four-wheel drives and motorbikes, along with Eglington and Newtownabbey.
Paul Compton, site director at Donnelly Group, said: "Suzuki has been a manufacturing partner of Donnelly Group since 2005 so we are delighted to build on that partnership with the addition of a third Suzuki showroom." Existing employees of the showroom are set to transfer.
Stephen Robinson, national sales manager at Suzuki Great Britain, said: "The opening of the Suzuki showroom on Belfast's Boucher Road by the Donnelly Group ensures a smooth transition of the business for its employees and customers alike.
"With new Suzuki vehicles already available at Eglinton and Newtownabbey, we have first-hand knowledge of Donnelly Group's strong track record."
The Donnelly Motor Group is the largest independent new and used vehicle dealership in Northern Ireland.
Rivals Charles Hurst and Agnew Group are part of larger UK groups Lookers plc and Sytner, respectively.
There are eight Donnelly locations around Northern Ireland selling vehicles from 18 manufacturers. The group said it sells more than 15,000 vehicles a year and employs over 700 people.
In accounts for 2016, group company Donnelly Bros Garages (Dungannon) reported a 12% increase in turnover to £277m and pre-tax profits of £1.9m.