BCA, which specialises in used vehicle sales and vehicle transportation services, has bought car haulier ECM (Vehicle Delivery Service) for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will see BCA boost its transporter fleet substantially. ECM has a fleet of around 500 car carriers which would see BCA’s total fleet number rise to over 1,500 vehicles, making it the largest vehicle transporter in the UK.

BCA’s purchase of ECM comes as the vehicle transporter market battles to recover from the impact of the pandemic which saw car manufacturers close during lockdown and new car registrations plummet by 29% in 2020 compared to 2019.

This year the ongoing chip shortage also took its toll on the car sales sector, hampering a return to pre-pandemic sales levels.

ECM, which has its headquarters in Carlisle, was badly hit by the pandemic. Its latest annual results for the year to 31 December 2020 revealed that turnover plunged by 25%, with the company making a loss of £391,578, from a pre-tax profit of £1.9m in the previous year.

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ECM has numbered Avis Budget Group, BMW, Daimler - Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Ford, Gefco, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar-Land-Rover, Mazda and Toyota & Lexus among its clients.

This is the latest in a string of acquisitions made by BCA in recent years including Paragon Automotive, car preparation firm Ambrosetti, and Stobart Automotive.

BCA, which includes BCA Automotive Logistics and BCA Automotive Services, is part of the Constellation Automotive Group (CAG), which also owns WeBuyAnyCar.com. CAG is owned by TDR Capital, a private equity firm.

BCA specialises in used vehicle sales and provides a one-stop shop for automotive services for OEMs, dealers and leasing companies. It also operates its own in-house fulfilment and logistics services. It has 28 centres across the UK.

An ECM spokeswoman said the company was not prepared to comment on the acquisition.

A spokesman for BCA also declined to comment.