Seneca Partners injects financial fuel into car retailer

Seneca Partners injects financial fuel into car retailer

  • North West-based firm takes £1m stake in pioneering multichannel car retailer Rockar
  • Auto business offers a seamless online way to buy and own a car – combined with its first physical showroom at the Bluewater shopping centre

The investment management and corporate advisory business, Seneca Partners, has bought a £1million stake in the multichannel car retailer Rockar.

The business, which is the first of its kind in the auto industry, offers an integrated online and in-store service that allows customers to research, test-drive, purchase and service a new car without ever having to speak to a salesperson.

The vision of Simon Dixon – the co-founder of the successful online car retailer Jamjar – Rockar combines the ease and convenience of web and mall shopping.

The Rockar business model is an evolution of Jamjar’s online only proposition. Customers can choose and personalise their cars online, and test drive them at Rockar’s first showroom in the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent. The company has a 10-year lease on the 2000ft2 sales space – which is in one of Europe’s busiest shopping centres – together with a nearby service centre.

Richard Manley, director at Seneca Partners, comments:

“Rockar’s integrated business model meets perfectly the two big trends in car retail – the overwhelming majority of buyers now do all their research online, and many are intimidated by conventional dealerships with pushy sales staff.

“Seneca Partners specialises in identifying well-researched and well-run companies with which to partner. Simon Dixon has an impeccable pedigree in the auto retail sector, and our investment in Rockar reflects our confidence in his ability to respond to recent changes in the way people shop for cars.

“By backing such a promising young business we have secured both tax relief for our clients’ investments under the Enterprise Investment Scheme and the chance to make strong returns as Rockar grows.”

Rockar has launched in partnership with Hyundai cars, and stocks the entire range of the popular Korean brand’s vehicles – with new car prices starting at just £126 a month. Partnerships with other marques are set to follow.

Seneca Partners were advised by Jon Gillow of the Manchester office of the law firm Hill Dickinson LLP.

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