Cox Automotive UK enters vehicle services market with major acquisition

Cox Automotive UK, a leading automotive services group, has today announced the acquisition of 100% of the share capital of C Walton Ltd (CWL), one of the UK’s key providers of vehicle services for manufacturers, fleet operators, dealers and daily rental companies.

As part of the deal, Cox Automotive UK has acquired CWL’s vehicle services business which operates from three locations in Bruntingthorpe (Leicestershire), Wyton (Cambridgeshire) and Long Bennington (Lincolnshire). The deal also includes CWL’s proving ground and events businesses.

CWL offers an extensive range of fleet management and vehicle services on a mass scale including new and used car vehicle preparation (wash, valeting, imagery) and reconditioning (Smart and full bodyshop repairs); defleet services including inspections and MOT; logistics and storage; as well as a range of in-life services for cars, vans and trucks plus full support for Electric vehicle handling.

The acquisition will therefore significantly increase both the scale and scope of wholelife vehicle services that Cox Automotive UK can offer new clients to support physical and online auction programmes.

Martin Forbes, CEO at Cox Automotive UK, said: “Although we provide some vehicle services to support existing customers with their remarketing and defleet strategies, we have wanted to significantly increase the range and scope of wholelife vehicle services available to new clients for some time. 

“We have long-admired how CWL operates in this market, growing its business through delivering high quality wholelife vehicle services. With the addition of CWL, Cox Automotive UK will now be able offer all aspects of a used car remarketing programme, including vehicle services on a much larger scale, to support both existing and potential new customers.”

Up to 200,000 vehicles a year are processed by CWL at its Bruntingthorpe site and it also provides secure storage for over 25,000 vehicles. CWL invested in a new purpose-built vehicle services facility at the Wyton site in 2019 in response to increased customer demand. 

Over the last decade, CWL has seen its business grow from strength-to-strength in the vehicle services market, becoming one of the market leaders in the field.  The company has invested in leading-edge technology and new infrastructure to drive operational efficiency which has helped it establish a reputation for service delivery excellence. 

Forbes added: “The used vehicle market in the UK is rapidly-changing. We are responding by transforming our business to meet the needs of a changing wholesale and retail marketplace. The launch of Dealer Auction is a great example of how we are leading the market when it comes to digital wholesale and we are also at the forefront of delivering new mobility solutions.”  

John Walton, commercial director of CWL, commented: “We are very proud of our heritage as a family-owned, independent business. When Cox Automotive approached us to acquire the business a major factor in deciding to sell was that they shared similar values to ours. Cox Automotive is also a family-owned company, plus we know many of the Cox Automotive UK and Manheim team as we’ve shared a site together at Bruntingthorpe for years. Our experience and expertise naturally complement that of Cox Automotive, and we believe it will be a perfect fit to help the business continue to grow.”  

Forbes concluded: “We will take time to get to know and really understand this fantastic business. The talented CWL leadership team and all the employees are integral to its continued success, and I’m looking forward to working alongside them. With the backing of an international company like ours, we can ensure that they receive the necessary investment to keep growing and expanding. This acquisition will undoubtedly transform our business!”

Bruntingthorpe in Leicestershire is the current home of C Walton Limited, Manheim Auctions, Big Thunder Events, Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground and the Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, featuring the iconic Cold War Jets Collection as well as a number of other automotive businesses. All situated within the 670-acre site, there is something to meet the needs of each of our customers. Our wide range of facilities allow us to cater for any type of event, from the standard to the obscure, and thanks to our 3.2km straight, Bruntingthorpe still operates as an active airfield.

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