The 2018 Motor Trader Top 200 saw turnover rise 5.9% to £73bn but the return on sales fell to 1.14%. The pace of consolidation is less frenetic than in the past but the top 10 super groups still managed to increase their share of total Top 200 turnover to 44.8% from 44% last time.

The top 10 supergroups’ combined accounted for 44.8% of overall Top 200 turnover. This compares to 42.5% in the 2008 survey.

There have been over 30 acquisitions among dealers and groups over the past year fewer than a year earlier.

Notably, Vertu Motors (6) acquired the £151m-turnover Hughes Group; and Stoneacre bought Mill Garages, Burrows Motor Group, Chris Variava and Gilder Group.

Some groups increased their involvement in non-franchise operations, conspicuously MT Top 200 leader Sytner Group.

It bought used supermarket The Car People in January 2018 to add almost as much again to its exposure to the used supermarket sector after buying Car Shops in February 2017 – the latter contributing £291m turnover and £7.3m profit to the group, according to its 2017 accounts.

In September this year Lookers confirmed its acquisition of the “perfect fit” £217m-turnover Jennings Group, which 100 years ago was one of Ford’s first UK dealers.

Following Lookers’ purchase of Benfields, the deal consolidates the group’s hold on the North East market, and could even help propel the group beyond Pendragon to second place in next year’s MT Top 200. To check out the MT Top 200 and your listing click here

MT 200 highlights

  • Combined MT Top 200 turnover is up 5.9% to £73bn
  • The combined turnover of the groups appearing in both this year’s and last year’s MT Top 200 (excluding estimates) rose 6% to £61.7bn
  • The turnover threshold for this year’s MT Top 200 is £39.2m, down from £40.5m in the last survey
  • Average return on sales for the entire MT Top 200 declined slightly, to 1.14% from 1.24% last year
  • Return on sales for this survey’s Top 25 performers ranged from 1.9% to 4.5%

Source: Motor Trader