ACF Car Finance, the used-car dealership network of non-prime lender The Funding Corporation, has opened its third retail outlet in south east England as subprime applications rise in London and the surrounding area, and confirmed plans to open further UK dealerships in the next 18 months.

David Challinor, managing director of Chester-based The Funding Corporation, said the 9,000 sq ft development in Feltham was of "strategic importance" given its proximity to the M25, M3 and M4 and would improve the speed of appointment times in the surrounding London area when added to ACF sites in Dunstable to the north of London and Maidstone to the south east.

"Prospective buyers are quite prepared to travel up to two hours to visit our showrooms," he said. "The Feltham location means that we can now offer much easier access to ACF Car Finance for customers from countries further west and south west."

The Funding Corporation and ACF operates a risk-based lending model based on customers arranging subprime finance before viewing a car and Challinor explained their third dealership in the south could be taken as an "indication of how this market is expanding" and the fading cliché of the monetary divide between the north and south of England.

"A decade ago, London and the south east were somewhat underrepresented by credit-impaired applicants, compared with the rest of the UK," Challinor told Motor Finance. "However, the proportion of applications from London and the home counties is unquestionably growing."

Further comment from David Challinor will be published in the May issue of Motor Finance magazine.