Bill Cullen no longer a Renault dealer


BUSINESSMAN BILL Cullen will no longer be a Renault dealer from the end of this month.

In a statement yesterday, he confirmed the ending of his long association with the brand.

Mr Cullen previously held the national franchise for the car brand but this was taken back under the control of the French firm in 2007. While he remained as a Renault dealer, that relationship is now about to end.

Renault Ireland and the Bill Cullen Motor Group declined to comment on the reasons behind the decision, aside from stating that both parties “have terminated the relationship by mutual agreement”.

Mr Cullen’s car retail group has two Dublin dealerships: in Airside, Swords; and Liffey Valley. Last month the group’s two other dealerships in Ennis and Galway closed with the loss of 29 jobs.

Yesterday he said: “I’m pleased to announce that my dealerships are still firmly in the motor business in my 56th year of giving the Irish motorist the best sales and service experience in the industry.” He said further plans for the two remaining dealer outlets will be announced in the near future.

Mr Cullen, who recently fronted TV3’s The Apprentice, became Renault’s Irish distributor in 1986. He has said he bought the operation for £1 at the time.

While the brand prospered for several years after he took control, getting a 6.15 per cent share of the new car market in 2000, by 2007 its share had declined to 3.5 per cent.

When the French parent company took control, Renault sales recovered dramatically, largely due to a sizeable marketing spend that coincided with the introduction of the government’s used car scrappage scheme. It followed up with its own scrappage discount scheme. Sales to the end of July this year show Renault has a 7.2 per cent share of the new car market.

Mr Cullen is one of Ireland’s best-known business figures. He is also the author of a highly successful autobiography, It’s a Long Way from Penny Apples.