UNITED Co-operatives' decision last year to pay out a multi-million pound sum to acquire 15 car dealerships from Ilkeston Co-op instantly doubled the size of society's Sunwin Motor Group portfolio and put United into the top 25 UK car sales businesses.
Sunwin Motor Group currently operates 28 outlets; has 1,000 employees and last year achieved a turnover of £ 259 million – up 76 per cent from the 2003 figure.
However United, who are currently pursuing due diligence procedures in relation to a possible bid for supermarket chain Somerfield, have so far expressed no interest in acquiring the Co-operative Group's Priory business.
While United run the biggest car sales operation in the Movement, other societies including Ipswich & Norwich and Lincolnshire maintain a stake in the sector.
Meanwhile United has announced that customers who bought a new or nearly new Rover car from Sunwin's Farnell MG Rover dealership at Guiseley, West Yorkshire, will have their warranties honoured despite the collapse of the manufacturers.
Affected motorists should contact 01943 873263 for full details.