Markel Corp. (NYSE: MKL) acquired a majority stake in Cottrell Inc., a Gainesville, Georgia-based manufacturer of car hauling equipment.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Glen Allen, Virgina-based Markel facilitated the deal through subsidiary Markel Ventures Inc., which makes strategic investments in sectors outside of the parent company's core business — insurance.

This is the first deal for Markel Ventures since it bought home builder Eagle Construction of VA LLC for an undisclosed price in 2013.

The deal comes in the midst of a worldwide trend where car sales, for both new and used vehicles, are up.

According to a July 25 report from Kelley Blue Book, new-vehicle sales are expected to increase 11.6 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.46 million units.

The purchase also follows a long list of recent car-parts deals, including AGM Automotive LLC's purchase of Chicago Miniature Lighting LLC in May, and Z Capital partners LLC's purchase of MSD Performance Group in December.

For more on the car parts sector, see "Winners of the Auto Aftermarket." 

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