SpireAuto-audi_m25US dealer, Group 1 Automotive, has bought the Spire Automotive Group, which has 12 dealerships operating in the greater London area, for an undisclosed sum. At the same time it has announced the divestiture of three of its US dealerships and made several senior management appointments.

Group 1 will retain the Spire Automotive name. The acquisition involves four Audi dealerships, three BMW/Mini dealerships with a BMW aftersales centre, two Seat dealerships, one Skoda dealership, one Volkswagen commercial vehicle dealership, and one Jaguar dealership. According to the US company those dealerships are expected to bring in an annual revenue of around $575m. Taken with its other UK business, Group 1 expects annual revenues of $1.8m from 29 dealerships.

“We are pleased to expand our relationship with BMW and the Volkswagen Group in the U.K. and to expand our relationship with Jaguar Land Rover from Brazil to the UK,” said Earl Hesterberg, Group 1's president and CEO.

At the same time the company has shed three dealerships in the US, which included Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen of Freehold, New Jersey, and Ira Toyota of Milford, Massachusetts. In total, these dealerships generated approximately $160m per year.Group 1 owns and operates 162 automotive dealerships, 212 franchises, and 37 collision centres in the US, UK and Brazil.

"We continually evaluate our portfolio of dealerships relative to required future capital expenditures and current levels of return on investment and move to dispose of assets that do not offer appropriate returns on invested capital," said Hesterberg.

Group 1 Automotive has also recently announced a number of executive appointments. Frank Grese Jr has been appointed senior vice president of human resources, training, and operations support. He was previously regional vice-president of the west region in the US. Daryl Kenningham has replaced Grese as regional vice-president of the west region. Kenningham was regional vice-president of the US east region since joining the company in 2011. Finally, David Fesmire has been appointed the new regional vice-president of the east region. Previously, Fesmire served as market director of the Houston/Beaumont and Gulf Coast markets.