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Japanese company buys WA family car group

Dealership deal: Japan's Gulliver International has bought a 67 per cent stake in Western Australia's DVG Automotive Group.

DVG to sell 70 per cent of company to online and auction specialists Gulliver

20 Jul 2015

WESTERN Australia’s biggest family automotive franchise group, the DVG Group, has been sold to a multi-national Japanese-run used-car distribution company in a deal worth $120 million.

DVG Automotive Group managing director Lou Divirgilio told GoAuto that the deal was underway subject to some conditions, but added that he was not able to expand on details until he finalised a meeting in Japan later this week.

Tokyo-based Gulliver International operates 420 Japanese car outlets either directly owned or franchised, as well as dealerships in Auckland, New Zealand and in Bangkok, Thailand.

Gulliver opened a business office in Sydney in May this year.

In Japan it turns over about 200,000 vehicles a year via auctions that use a patented automated online system of assessing, pricing and then selling cars.

DVG is a WA-based new- and used-car business with 24 dealerships and 800 staff.

It has eight new-car and two used-car locations in the Perth metropolitan area and franchises include Holden, Volkswagen, Kia, Chrysler, Jeep, Peugeot, Suzuki and Alfa Romeo.

DVG Group started in 1996 by the Divirgilio family and is run by seven brothers. The managing director, Lou Divirgilio, operates the company with his brothers as directors and dealer principals.

Speaking today, Mr Divirgilio said he and his brothers and staff would continue to run the Perth operations “for a long time”.

Gulliver has proposed to buy 67 per cent of the DVG Group’s parent company, Buick Pty Ltd, for $120.6 million.

The Japanese company is reported to be on a growth phase by expanding its business model from used cars to new cars.

It has only recently moved outside of Japan, opening a dealership in Bangkok last year and then in New Zealand last November.

Gulliver operates on two sales lines – an online site that offers vehicles for auction, and new- and used-car dealerships.

Its online buying system completes all sales on-screen using a program that details and shows images of the cars for sale.

Gulliver says on its website that its Dolphinet program allows customers to see individual vehicles, the faults, the service history and the assessment placed on a particular vehicle by Gulliver staff.

“At any time customers are able to view the details of over 6000 cars before they are put up for auction and cars are guaranteed by G-Warranty and Gulliver Road Service following purchase,” it said.

“Around 3000 cars per month are sold on-screen and the total number sold so far is over 300,000.”

Gulliver operates its car warranty business G-Warranty and a roadside assistance business. It also has a finance company called G-One Financial Services that offers car loans, insurance services and even a credit-card facility.

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