When the time comes to write the history of Rockingham, it'll be a fascinating read. And then watch, presumably, when Netflix gets the story. From its origins with oval racing (remember ASCAR?), to touring cars and sports cars on the infield, track day calendar staple and its time for sale as a housing 'development opportunity', the past 20 years have been dramatic for the Motor Speedway.
Latterly it's been used for car storage, which is an opportunity being seized upon by Cinch. Reported in The Times today is news that Constellation Automotive, the consortium that owns both Cinch and WeBuyAnyCar, is to acquire Rockingham for £80m to expand its business. The site will be used for preparing and storing the cars it sells, plus is set to house a new training academy and logistics centre. It's suggested that Rockingham will prep in excess of 100,000 secondhand cars every year for Cinch and WBAC, with the capacity to store 50,000 at one time. Around 500 jobs will be created in the process.
The appeal of somewhere like Rockingham is clear; the rise to prominence of websites like Cinch over the past year or so of car buying isn't likely to wane with dealerships back open. For some, the online method is a preferable way of buying a used car, and with only one per cent of secondhand sales taking place entirely online, there's still plenty of room for growth. Cinch is banking on it; the £80m buyout of Rockingham comes after Constellation raised £1bn to accelerate expansion of the brand across UK and Europe. Perhaps online only isn't the most PH way of buying a car - we've all travelled hundreds of miles to see the right spec in person, right? - but it feels like a pandemic affected market will accelerate change elsewhere. If demand is sufficient in online sales for Cinch to make this move, imagine what comes next...
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