BMW dealership on prime south Dublin site to shut down

Garage’s closure will result in 37 job losses

Murphy & Gunn BMW garage in Milltown, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Murphy & Gunn BMW garage in Milltown, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

One of Dublin’s best known BMW dealerships, Murphy & Gunn in Milltown, will close down at the end of the month after losing its franchise with the luxury German car marque. The closure will result in about 37 job losses.

The directors of the business, Tom Murphy and Stephen Murphy, said the dealership was “not viable” without the BMW franchise and so they had taken the decision to wind it up “on a voluntary basis before losses are incurred”.

Although no longer viable as a garage, the three-quarters of an acre Milltown site could yet have significant alternative use value for the Murphys, however. It sits in the middle of a prime south Dublin neighbourhood that is highly sought after by affluent househunters and speculative developers.

Murphy & Gunn ran a BMW dealership for 50 years, but said the manufacturer had recently “changed its distribution arrangements in Ireland” and decided not to renew their relationship.

Different route

The directors said they “had hoped and planned to take a very different route into the future” when it became clear the business would no longer be continuing as a BMW dealership. It is thought they planned to sell luxury used cars on the site, as well as a vehicle repair service.

“As we worked through our options in detail, the analysis highlighted several significant uncertainties and challenges in the marketplace, many beyond our control,” said Tom Murphy, the group managing director.

“This has been a very strong business with a well-earned and proud tradition of delivering quality and value for customers over decades. Although there is an unplanned and unwanted end in sight, we will maintain that commitment right through to the last day at Milltown.”

Murphy & Gunn separately operates a Hyundai dealership in nearby Rathgar that is unaffected by the Milltown closure, and continues to trade normally.

It is understood that Murphy & Gunn’s Milltown trading business does not own the site. It appears to be owned separately by the Murphy family, however. According to the group’s accounts, Tom Murphy and Stephen Murphy gave Bank of Ireland personal guarantees of €1.5 million, supported by charges on the Milltown premises.