Cambria Automobiles has reported that it is “well positioned for 2020” despite suffering a 9.4% decline in new car sales in the first three months of its current fiscal year.
Earlier this week, Cambria reported that, despite the declining sales – including a 7.4% reduction in retail – its portfolio of luxury car dealerships had ensured that it had delivered improved gross profit per unit in the period.
It was also able to grow its used car sales by 2%, with vehicles delivering a higher profit per unit to reflect the stock coming into its new Aston Martin, Bentley, Lamborghini and McLaren Automotive franchised sites, and revenue from aftersales activities also grew by 1.9%.
The trends reflect those reported by Cambria in its previous set of annual financial results, which were reported by AM in November.
In a statement issued on January 9 Cambria said that the group "remains cautious" about the current trading environment, however.
It stated: “As per the update in November within the preliminary results statement, the Board remains cautious about the general uncertainty in the economy and around the consumer environment while the ramifications of leaving the EU are worked through.
“That being said, the continued progress made through 2019 with the Group’s franchising and property development has further enhanced Cambria’s excellent portfolio of dealerships and leaves the business well positioned for 2020, with strong representation across the premium and high luxury segments of motor retail."
Macklin Motors Nissan Glasgow Central has become one of the latest dealerships to gain Electric Vehicle Approved Status (EVA).
The scheme was created by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) and is endorsed by the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Energy Saving Trust (EST).
Stephen Clarke, sales executive at Macklin Motors Nissan Glasgow Central who is the on-site EV ambassador, said: “The demand for electric vehicles is growing, and the technology is different from a petrol or diesel car and customers are often uncertain as to what is the best option for them.
“The Government’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy aims to phase out new petrol and diesel cars by 2040. This scheme makes sure that dealerships are prepared for the EV era and equipped with the right knowledge to assist customers.
“Customers can be re-assured that at Macklin Motors Nissan Glasgow Central they will receive the very best advice and support when buying an electric vehicle.”
Sue Robinson, NFDA director, said: “Congratulations to Macklin Motors Nissan Glasgow Central on becoming leaders in the electric vehicle field.
“The long-term goal is to gain EVA membership across all EV selling retailers and to build trust between them and their customers. The EVA accreditation will give consumers the confidence that they are dealing with electric vehicle experts.”
JCT600 is to recruit 40 apprentices this year in a variety of roles including apprentice technicians, parts advisers and service advisers.
The £1.3bn turnover group with 2,300 employees, has run its own training scheme for young people since 2013 It offers apprenticeships at its 52 dealerships throughout Yorkshire, the North East, the Humber, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
The 2020 apprenticeship programme will include assessment days will be held throughout the year to give young people and their parents insight into JCT600, the variety of roles available and the way in which their training and future career will be supported.
The company will be running two and three year apprenticeships resulting in NVQ Level 2 and 3 qualifications alongside IMI Technical Certificates.
As well as providing supportive managers and colleagues throughout JCT600, the company also gives each apprentice their own trained mentor in the work place and a vocational learning adviser linked to their training college.
Katie Saunders, HR director for JCT600, said: “Over the last six years, our apprenticeships have become increasingly popular and we’ve been able to attract large numbers of bright, enthusiastic young people into the automotive sector.
“With the scheme continuing to gather momentum, it’s also satisfying to see that the support we provide at college and at work has resulted in us being able to keep this talent within the business, with over 90% of our apprentices choosing to stay with JCT600 and develop their careers with us”.
Jardine Motor Group has spent £2.5m installing charging infrastructure for EVs across its UK network.
Sales of EVs have been rising fast from a low base. The group said it was “hugely important” to have the infrastructure in place to meet rising demand.
“Over the last few years, we have invested approximately £2.5m into electrical infrastructure, which includes every part of the customer journey, from parking outside our dealerships to the service bays and workshop areas.
“Whilst we know that this investment is only the start, there are plans to continually review our ways of working so that every single electric vehicle owner has the same seamless experience as a customer who owns a traditional petrol or diesel vehicle, it said.
Jardine Motor Group property director Stephen Pettyfer said:
“In order to prepare for having the electric vehicles on site across all of our sites we have now done something to have electrical infrastructure for charging.
“That comes to installing new power supply, quite often a new transformer putting new cables and the charging infrastructure in place,” he said.
The NFDA argues that dealers have a key role to play in increasing awareness of electric vehicles. Some of the UK’s biggest dealer groups have signed up to the new Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) scheme which was launched by the NFDA last year to help customers buying electric cars.
Pendragon has been ranked as one of the top employers of apprentices in the UK.
The company was the only dealer group listed in the RateMyApprenticeship rankings.
RateMyApprenticeship is a resource for students, schools and parents. It aims to educate young people about their career options.
Over 16,000 reviews have been submitted on RateMyApprenticeship, all written by apprentices about their experiences working for employers in a range of industries.
A number of carmakers also made the cut, including BMW Group, The AA and Jaguar Land Rover.
Companies included in the list are considered the best in the business when it comes to offering quality apprenticeships and work experience to school and college leavers across the UK.
Pendragon has begun a recruitment drive to staff a new Porsche Centre in Stockport ahead of its May opening.
The dealership will occupy a 34,500 square foot site off Marsland Street and is set to employ a total of 28 people at what is a new retail point for the German premium carmaker, which is embarking on an expansion of its UK dealer network as it prepares for the arrival of new electric vehicles (EV).
Deliveries of the zero-emission Taycan supercar were set to get underway this month. Prices start at £83,367 for the Taycan 4S.
James Hawley has been appointed as area manager for Hendy Group’s Car and Van Store business.
He has vast experience in the used car industry and will be based at the company’s Portsmouth operation, which offers up to 500 cars and vans on one site in the city.
Hawley has been running Carshop in Wiltshire for the last 13 years and before that worked as a group sales manager for Lookers overseeing car supermarkets across the country.