$35m man: Auto-tycoon Craig's in the black after empire sale

DARLING Downs auto-mogul Craig Black has sold his business empire to A.P. Eagers for $35 million.

The 280-strong workforce has been assured their jobs would remain safe under the new management.

The Craig Black Group started its life in Chinchilla in 1983 and has grown to encompass 15 car dealerships, a rental car franchise and a fabrication business scattered across the state.

Despite his new $35 million pocket-lining, Mr Black is not quite ready to buy a yacht and set sail for the easy life in the Caribbean.

He will continue as both a consultant to the business and a shareholder in the publicly-listed A.P. Eagers.

Craig Black’s empire has been bought for $35 million by Australia’s oldest publicly-listed automotive retail group, AP Eagers.
Craig Black’s empire has been bought for $35 million by Australia’s oldest publicly-listed automotive retail group, AP Eagers.

"AP Eagers approached us late last year, prior to that the business had not been on the market and the subsequent decision to sell has been a very difficult one for our family," Mr Black said.

"I have agreed to remain part of the group, initially in order to ensure the smooth transfer of operations, and following that in a consultant capacity for a minimum of two years, and potentially the longer term.

"The transaction will include the transfer of ownership of Black Toyota Queensland, Central Highlands Auto, Boonarga Welding and Budget Rent a Car.

"We will retain all of the group's current dealership properties and become significant shareholders in the A.P. Eagers Group."

The sale is subject to several conditions.

Craig and Anne Black’s auto-empire has grown into a $35 million business from its humble origins with a single car yard in Chinchilla in 1983.
Craig and Anne Black’s auto-empire has grown into a $35 million business from its humble origins with a single car yard in Chinchilla in 1983. Dave Noonan

Craig Black Group timeline (source)

  • 1983 - Chinchilla Black Toyota opened
  • 1990 - Dalby Black Toyota acquired
  • 1993 - Roma Black Toyota acquired
  • 1998 - Warwick Black Toyota acquired
  • 2000 - Black Kubota opened
  • 2002 - all new facilities Chinchilla
  • 2003 - Oakey Black Toyota acquired
  • 2004 - Grafton Black Toyota and Suzuki acquired
  • 2004 - Boonarga Welding acquired
  • 2004 - large scale upgrade Oakey
  • 2006 - Black Trac formed
  • 2006 - Dubbo Toyota & Lexus acquired
  • 2006/07 - upgrade Roma
  • 2007/08 - new facilities Dalby Central
  • 2008 - Budget Rent-A-Car acquired
  • 2009 - Black Hino Grafton established
  • 2009 - Emerald, Longreach & Springsure Toyota and Mitsubishi acquired;
  • 2009 - Clarence Valley Hyundai acquired and integrated into Grafton operations
  • 2009 - all new facilities Warwick
  • 2009 - all new facilities Dalby
  • 2010 - Divested Dubbo Toyota & Lexus
  • 2010 - all new facilities Grafton Black Toyota & Suzuki
  • 2011 - Added Great Wall Motors and Volkswagen to the distribution network
  • 2011 - all new facilities Black Hyundai
  • 2011 - further expansions to service facilities at Black Toyota Chinchilla and Roma
  • 2012 - Purchased the Old Toowoomba Chronicle Building in Toowoomba
  • 2012 - Added a dedicated Fleet Division - Western Fleet Services
  • 2012 - Opened additional service centres in Roma and Miles
  • 2013 - Hyundai acquired in Warwick
  • 2013 - Volkswagen acquired in Roma
  • 2013 - Hyundai acquired in Emerald


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