A CAR sales operation with a special line in sourcing prestige vehicles has been bought by a big group based in Hampshire.

The Peter Cooper Motor Group bought Think Cars, in Bransgore, which sells sed cars and also has a new car franchise for the South Korean SUV brand SsangYong.

The Peter Cooper group said it was looking to strengthen its footings as one of the largest independents on the south coast despite the economic outlook.

Like its new owner, Think Cars runs a prestige cars business, accounting for more than 80 per cent of its 750 yearly sales.

Think Cars has established itself over the last 10 years selling all makes and models and sourcing cars to suit customers. The new owner said it was not uncommon to see a top of the range Aston Martin, Porsche, Range Rover, Caterham and a McLaren on the forecourt.

All 12 staff, including managing director Kristian Robinson, will stay on. Mr Robinson will take a group buying role as well as being hands-on at Bransgore.

The Peter Cooper Motor Group, which employs 245 staff and reported a turnover of nearly £100m in 2019, operates Volkswagen dealerships in Southampton, Hedge End, Portsmouth and Chichester and a body repair centre in Bognor Regis.

It also owns and runs Prestige Cars in Hedge End as well as Peter Cooper Leasing, which sells new vehicles of all makes.

Managing director Darren Cooper said the acquisition was part of a longer-term strategy and would add around £14m in turnover.

He said: “This is an extremely important acquisition for the Peter Cooper Motor Group and will not only expand our influence within the regional automotive industry but also our geographical reach to the outskirts of Dorset.

“Think Cars is a very strong and stable business and like our businesses, is much loved by its customers. Both businesses share the same family ethos and ambition which is focused on excellent customer care.

“SsangYong as an SUV car manufacturer is becoming stronger in the market place and we are delighted to have this brand on board as part of the group. We aim to continue the great work that Think Cars does for its local community and also to bring our aftersales skills with Volkswagen to their doorsteps as well.

“Kristian has developed a wealth of experience in used car acquisition and also runs a successful service operation for all makes of vehicle. He will continue to support Think Cars and our other used car sites across the Group with our existing teams.”

Kristian Robinson added: “This acquisition is a great fit for Think Cars and our staff. I’ve long admired the Peter Cooper Motor Group for its business performance, customer service ethos and strategic position in the market. As part of our successful business we have carved out a niche for bespoke cars and I know our customers will welcome this acquisition and I look forward to seeing it grow as part of the Peter Cooper Motor Group.”