Virgin Cars

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Virgin Cars (UK) Limited
IndustryAutomotive industry
FoundedMay 2000; 18 years ago (2000-05)
United Kingdom
FounderRichard Branson
Ian Lancaster
DefunctDecember 22, 2005; 13 years ago (2005-12-22)
Headquarters120 Campden Hill Road, ,
Number of locations
Salford Quays, City of Salford
Area served
United Kingdom
ParentVirgin Group

Virgin Cars Ltd was an internet automobile retailer, established by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, and co founded by Ian Lancaster in May 2000. This was as part of the Virgin brand of companies.

The speed at which the company was launched, was perhaps the most startling aspect. It went 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 an £300m turnover.[1]

By October 2000, the company had sold over 2,000 cars, generating £30 million.[2]

In July 2001, the company started a subsidiary, Virgin Bikes.[3] By 2003, the company only managed to sell 12,000 cars in total.[4] On 23 May 2003, Branson opened Virgin Cars' first showroom in Salford, Greater Manchester. It was located at the end of the M602 motorway, near the A6/A57.

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


  1. ^ Brabbs, Cordella (25 May 2000). "Virgin Cars aims for £300m sales". Marketing.
  2. ^ "Branson launches Virgin Cars at Motor Show". PR Newswire. 17 October 2000.
  3. ^ "Virgin Cars". Marketing Week. 5 July 2001.
  4. ^ "RICHARD BRANSON'S FAILS: 14 Virgin Companies That Went Bust". Business Insider. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Virgin Cars Homepage after closing". Archived from the original on January 1, 2006. Retrieved 2013-05-04.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

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