Gowan Group acquires Opel Ireland and installs new MD

James Brooks appointed by group owners, who hold Peugeot and Honda franchises

Gowan Group has completed the acquisition of Opel Ireland and has announced the appointment of James Brooks as managing director of Opel operations locally.

Mr Brooks joins Opel from Kia Motors Ireland where he was managing director. He is a former treasurer and president of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (Simi). He takes over from Gillian Whittall, who is leaving Opel following the successful completion of the acquisition

No financial details for the Opel deal, first reported in The Irish Times in early July, have been revealed.

The Gowan Group is owned by the Maughan family, which also holds the Irish franchises for the Peugeot and Honda brands.


Opel currently employs 30 staff at its head office in Sandyford, Dublin. It has 27 dealers in its network – including service centres – which are unaffected by the change in ownership.

Gowan Group has been involved in motor distribution in Ireland for 50 years, importing Peugeot vehicles since 1969 and Honda vehicles since 1984. Previously, Gowan Group had also distributed Citroën cars in Ireland, through its subsidiary Gallic Distributors, but lost that franchise in 2009, when it moved back to the control of the French parent before ultimately returning to a franchise operation run by the UK-based IM Group.

Along with its motoring operations, the group also owns a retail dealer network that sells Kia and Opel vehicles, and provides after-sales service for Citroen. It is also involved in the distribution of household electronics and kitchen products, through its KAL division, where it holds franchises for brands such as De Dietrich, Nordmende, AGA, Franke, Sharp, Elica, and KitchenAid. It also owns Senator Windows.