Originally founded in the 1960s by the Walker family, FAI Automotive plc (“FAI”) has thrived and expanded to become a brand leader in the automotive parts distribution aftermarket, generating a turnover of £35million in the UK, Europe and beyond. Under Sean Walker and Karen Walker’s stewardship and strategic vision, FAI’s product range grew from just 8 product lines and 24 part numbers, to over 30,000 part numbers spread across 37 product lines.

In 2020, Jonathan Alexander became CEO with Sean Walker taking the role of Chairman. Over Jonathan’s 19 years with FAI, he has helped guide the business through many key events, culminating with the next chapter that will see FAI become part of an international group, Motus.

Motus, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, is South Africa’s leading automotive group.  It is a diversified business in the automotive sector.  Motus offers a differentiated value proposition with a fully integrated model across the automotive value chain through four key business segments, namely, Import and Distribution, Retail and Rental, Motor-related Financial Services and Aftermarket Parts.

Motus Aftermarket Parts (“MAP”) is a distributor, wholesaler and retailer of parts and accessories for out of warranty vehicles through a combination of owned operations as well as a substantial franchisee base.

As part of the MAP Strategy, two key elements are:

  • Improving MAP’s sourcing and end-to-end supply chain,
  • Expanding into new markets.

To improve sourcing, MAP invested in businesses in the Far East (Taiwan and China), and this has already paid dividends.  MAP’s end-to-end supply chain was enhanced through the establishment of a central warehouse operation in Shanghai (Motus Trading Shanghai – MTS) and the reconfiguration of their local distribution network to include the strategic hub in China.  MAP’s presence in China has facilitated growth in sales throughout the world.

As part of MAP’s expansion strategy, Motus has acquired, with effect from 1 October 2021, 100% of the share capital of FAI.

Whilst Motus already owns a substantial network of franchised commercial and passenger vehicle dealerships in the UK through its subsidiary Motus Group (UK) Ltd and has been present in the UK market for many years, this will be the first UK business acquired by MAP in furtherance of its international growth strategy.

FAI’s strategy fully aligns with that of MAP. FAI has an established client base internationally and within the UK, with 50% of sales generated outside of the UK. The acquisition of FAI provides MAP with access to the key European aftermarket alongside other synergies.

Products offered by FAI are both complementary to, and synergistic with, those offered by MAP. Sourcing strategies are also synergistic, with more and more products being sourced from the Far East and Eastern Europe.

One of FAI’s strategic objectives was to establish a distribution center in China to better serve its international client base. As this already exists within MAP this plan will be fast tracked with a combined presence in a single facility. Added procurement resources, to assist the South Africa and UK based operation, will also be deployed where required.

FAI has a strong, dedicated, and experienced management team that share the same values as those in MAP, so this partnership enhances the strategies of both organizations while at the same time providing further opportunities to improve efficiencies throughout the supply chain and creates additional sourcing opportunities.

From 1st October 2021 the Board of FAI will be led by Jonathan Alexander (CEO), with Peter Guinn (CFO) and Tracy Payne (Special Projects Director) being joined by Malcolm Perrie and Carel de Clerk of Motus.

Jonathan Alexander will also join the MAP Executive committee.

Jonathan Alexander commented “The acquisition of FAI by Motus will bring us many synergies, with scope to expand our supply chains and product ranges, as well as the opportunities to enter new markets. Both existing and new customers will benefit from our core aims of best availability, best service, best quality and best price. Our business ethos is so closely aligned with Motus’s that the change of ownership will be seamless, but the benefits will be felt by all.”

Malcolm Perrie commented “I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the FAI family into the Motus family and look forward to exploring all the great initiatives that we have collectively started.”