Cullen back in the driving seat with SsangYong dealership

You’re hired! Former top dog in The Apprentice, Bill Cullen, is back in the car trade after opening a new showroom on Dublin’s Naas Rd.

Bill Cullen Premier Motors will stock new SUVs and second-hand cars after the businessman was appointed an official dealer for the Korean SsangYong franchise.

Cullen, who is in his70s, was the country’s main Renault dealer for more than 20 years, but two years ago lost his exclusive rights to sell Renault cars here.

In 2012, TV3 announced that it was scrapping the Irish version of the Cullen-fronted The Apprentice after four seasons, while the impact of the recession hit many of his business interests. Now it seems he is back on familiar territory, hiring rather than firing staff.

A statement released yesterday said Cullen and his partner, Jackie Lavin, had recruited a team of sales people and servicemen. “I am delighted to be back,” Cullen was quoted as saying. “I’ve been itching to get back into the motor trade for some time. I had noticed that SsangYong had a new range that was performing well in other markets, and when I spotted that it had entered the Irish market I knew it was time to make a move.”

He also received the backing of his new boss, Joe Harris, CEO of SsangYong Motors Ireland. “Bill has been a cornerstone and pioneer of the Irish motor trade for many years and his personal and professional achievements are second to none,” said Mr Harris.

The 950 sq/m showroom on the Naas Rd is already open.

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