Long-serving Vauxhall group Picador is acquired by Snows

Picador, the Hampshire dealer group which has retailed Vauxhalls for almost 60 years, has been sold to Snows Group.

Around 90 staff from its two Vauxhall dealerships at Sholing in Southampton and Chandler’s Ford near Eastleigh will transfer to Snows through the acquisition.

Picador chief executive Graham Jacobs, also a past chairman of the Vauxhall dealer council, is retiring after more than 40 years in the business, which was bought in 1966 by his father, Lionel, who moved his family into a flat above the showroom.

At points the business expanded to represent Chevrolet and Renault, and it still holds authorized service franchises for Renault and Dacia.

The takeover will bring the end of the Picador trading name – the dealerships will be rebranded as Snows Vauxhall on September 1.

Neil McCue, chief operating officer for Snows, said: “We are very excited to take on this great business and warmly welcome Picador staff to Snows.”

He added: “It’s not difficult to see why Picador is a great addition to the Snows family.

“Like Snows, Picador was established 60 years ago with a well-respected name in the region and loyal customers, who we hope will choose to enjoy the same excellent standards and service from us.

“This exciting acquisition enables us to offer new and used Vauxhall cars and vans and used car sales, plus repairs and servicing for both the Renault and Dacia brands.

“Together with our strengthened position with Stellantis (owners of Vauxhall, FCA and Peugeot) this will mean even more choice of quality vehicles for our customers.”

Prior to the acquisition of Picador, Snows represented 17 brands across 48 dealerships, with three approved service centres, 12 multi-franchise used car centers and a standalone accident repair centre, employing a total of 993 staff.

Its last acquisition was the takeover of Hamble Motors in Southampton, which took Snows’ tally of Peugeot dealerships up to six.

In 2013 Jacobs was interviewed by AM for a feature on Picador, in which he emphasized the length the dealer group would go to keep customers happy.

A great believer in leading from the front, Jacobs often maintained a presence in his showrooms, greeting customers and demonstrating to his staff how to resolve challenges – at the time Picador was achieving three times the average profitability of a Vauxhall dealership and retaining 65% of its new car customers for repeat business.