Pendragon - in the midst of a hostile takeover battle for Lookers - yesterday launched an attack on the board of the rival car dealership company.

It called Lookers strategy "confused and ill-conceived" and urged shareholders to accept its #258 million allpaper offer for the company.

Pendragon, which has only just completed the #500 million acquisition of Reg Vardy, says it is a "take it or leave it" approach.

Victory would create a giant nationwide group with annual sales of more than #6 billion.

Pendragon, which approached Lookers at the time of the Vardy deal in January with a proposal to implement a three-way merger, is offering 1.15 new Pen-dragon shares for each Lookers ordinary share - valued at about 724.5 pence a share.

It made its comments as it publshed its takeover said its offer represented a "full and fair value" for Lookers shareholders and a higher exit multiple than it paid for both CD Bramall and Reg Vardy.

Chief executive Trevor Finn said: "Pendragon has outperformed Lookers in terms of shareholders return and dividend growth. Our margins are over a third higher than Lookers.

"On the one hand, Lookers says it wants to participate in the consolidation of the car dealership sector, but on the other it says it wants to return value to shareholders. By promising to return value to shareholders, they may well diminish their ability to undertake future acquistions."

Lookers recently raised its annual dividend by 26 per cent and pledged to boost future dividends by 15 per cent a year going forward. It is also believed to be looking at ways to unlock the value in its propertry portfolio and return excess funds to shareholders.

Pendragon has already secured support from fund management groups Schroders and Morley Fund Managers, who have pledged to accept the offer in respect of their combined 12.6 per cent, but the key to the success of the bid appears to rest with GE Capital which has a 24.4 per cent holding in Lookers.

Lookers reiterated its rejection of the offer, describing it as "inadequate".