Marshall and Hendy Group bosses offer coronavirus reassurance and support – AM Online

Business leaders from the car retail sector have been taking to email and social media to reassure their members of staff and customers of their actions amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Hendy Group chief executive, Paul Hendy, took to Twitter to reach out to the group’s “valued customers” and the communities it serves to offer help and reassurance in a video presentation posted yesterday (March 18).

While Hendy asked customers not to be offended by the AM100 business’s decision to cease all handshakes, he said that it was “business as usual”.

He highlighted the efforts that it was taking to ensure the health of its staff and customers and the role that online platforms, video vehicle tours and delivery and collection services would play for the business in the weeks and months ahead.

Despite the precautions, Hendy also said that he and the business were ready to play a vital role in supporting local community members as and when they could.

He said: “During this difficult time we do not underestimate the important role that we have to play within our local community in supporting those around us who may be vulnerable.

“If you believe that we can support you or someone you know at this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out."…

…Marshall Motor Holdings chief executive, Daksh Gupta, has emailed his PLC operation’s 4,000 employees to reassure them of the efforts that are being made in order to maintain their operations, while keeping staff and customers safe.

Gupta said that rigorous hygiene protocols had been put in place, which included the through cleaning of vehicles in for service or repair work at its aftersales facilities.

Like Hendy, Gupta said that test drives could still be facilitated from customer’s home, meanwhile, and he urged employees to consider the use of video to offer customers remote sales and aftersales guidance.

In his email, Gupta told Marshall employees: “With over 110 years of history, at Marshall we are determined to ensure that in these uncertain times, we continue to provide our customers with the exemplary levels of service they have come to expect whilst responding appropriately to the evolving situation.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and will continue to evolve our plans as the situation develops.

“Most importantly, I wish all our customers, colleagues and their families well. We are all in this together and we will get through it together.”

Auto Trader axes April fees in car retail support response – AM Online

Auto Trader will suffer April losses of up to £7 million in a bid to help car retailers mitigate the impact of coronavirus by axing its fees for next month and deferring March payments for 30 days.

The online automotive classified advertising specialist revealed details of its measures in an unscheduled company update issued via the London Stock Exchange this morning (March 19), stating that the move would result in an operating loss of between £6 million and £7m next month.

Auto Trader said that, in light of the “unprecedented levels of uncertainty” facing the UK car retailing market, it had “chosen to act in what we believe is a responsible way to protect our customers”, which it described as key stakeholders in its business.

It said that it would waive its advertising package charges during April and allow our customers to defer payment of their March costs by 30 days, adding: “We have chosen this approach not in response to immediate pressures on our business, but rather to continue to support an industry that we have supported for the past 40 years, and one which has supported us.”

Pendragon losses double to £117.4m in 2019 – Motor Trader

Pendragon delivered a £117.4m after tax loss in 2019 with a grim H1 wiping out a return to profitability in the second half of the year. Group revenues rose 2.6% to £4.5bn.

The company said it is closely monitoring Covid-19 and so far it has seen minimal impact but it was “hard to predict with any certainty” what might happen.

During the year the company restructured its used car supermarket business, closing 22 Car Stores and a preparation centre in H2. A second preparation was subsequently closed following a review of capacity.

It saw a 2% fall in sales volumes in its Car Stores to 27,866 units. Operating losses were -£25.2m in 2019 compared to -£11.9m in 2018, largely due to a reduction in stock levels and a decline in used car values.

In its franchised business it made an operating profit of £13m in 2019 compared to £53m a year earlier. As with Car Stores, it improved its performance in the second half. The group stressed that the franchised business will remain an important part of the business.

During the year it sold or disposed of six Jaguar Land Rover sites and closed six Vauxhall businesses as the Griffin restructured its network…

Imperial Cars adds 17th site with Birmingham used car dealership - AM Online

Imperial Cars has opened the doors at its 17th used car retail site with the completion of a new showroom facility in Birmingham.

The top ID50 car supermarket group’s new dealership on Tyburn Road, just to the north-east of the city centre, offers a choice of 100 pre-owned models and has created 20 new jobs for the West Midlands area.

The Birmingham site is Imperial Cars’ 17th dealership in the UK and the company’s third in the West Midlands, with the others in Tamworth and Halesowen, both of which opened within the past 12 months.

In October last year the business also added a 10.8-acre vehicle preparation facility in Bristol, which will aim to prepare 3,500 used vehicles for sale each year.

Full servicing and aftersales facilities will launch at the new Birmingham site in early April to complement the sales operation which is now in full operation…

Charles Hurst Toyota raise £54,496 for Action Cancer - AM Online

Lookers' Charles Hurst Toyota has raised a total of £54,496 through a series of charity events for Action Cancer.

As a result of their ongoing partnership with the charity, the AM100 group's Charles Hurst division have raised funds that will support life-saving breast cancer services in Northern Ireland.

The division, which has Toyota dealerships in Newtownabbey, Dundonald and Belfast, has so far donated two cars to the charity for two raffles and plan on donating a new Toyota Yaris this year as part of the ongoing partnership.

The news of the total raised from the fundraiser follows shortly after Lookers presented an award marking 45 years of service from George Currie in its Northern Ireland Charles Hurst dealerships.

Charles Hurst also appointed Alan Thompson as head of business at Jaguar and Land Rover base in Belfast last year (2019).

Based in Northern Ireland, Charles Hurst sell new and used cars, vans and motorcycles and offer car finance, service assistance, repairs and insurance.

Action Cancer is Northern Ireland’s local cancer charity that supports local people through cancer awareness, prevention, detection and support.