Virgin Cars

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Virgin Cars (UK) Limited
Industry Automotive industry
Founded City, United Kingdom (May 2000 (2000-05))
Founder Richard Branson
Ian Lancaster
Defunct December 22, 2005 (2005-12-22)
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Number of locations
1 Showroom at Salford Quays, Salford
Area served
United Kingdom
Parent Virgin Group

Virgin Cars Ltd was an Internet automobile retailer started by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and co-founded by Ian Lancaster in May 2000 as part of the Virgin brand of companies. The speed at which the company was launched was perhaps the most startling aspect, going from drawing board to fully fledged company with logistics, purchase, finance, admin and web-based sales operations all being set up between December 1999 and May 2000 using Logica, the London-based IT services company.

Branson predicted the company would sell 24,000 cars in the first year with a £300m turnover.[1] By October 2000, the company had sold over 2,000 cars, generating £30 million.[2]

In 2001, the company started a subsidiary Virgin Bikes.[3] The company only managed to sell 12,000 cars in total by 2003.[4] Branson opened Virgin Cars' first showroom in Salford, Greater Manchester in May 2003. It was located at the end of the M602 motorway near the A6 / A57.

The company stopped all operations and trading on 22 December 2005.[5] The building which it occupied was stripped of all branding, and in 2008 the site became the new home of the Robins and Day Manchester Peugeot dealership.


  1. ^ Brabbs, Cordella (2000-05-25). "Virgin Cars aims for £300m sales". Marketing. 
  2. ^ "Branson launches Virgin Cars at Motor Show". PR Newswire. 2000-10-17. 
  3. ^ "Virgin Cars". Marketing Week. 2001-07-05. 
  4. ^ "RICHARD BRANSON'S FAILS: 14 Virgin Companies That Went Bust Read more:". Business Insider. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Virgin Cars Homepage after closing at the Wayback Machine (archived January 1, 2006)

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