Lookers PLC appoints Chris Whitaker as chief people officer – AM Online

Lookers PLC has announced the completion of a recent series of senior leadership changes with the appointment of Chris Whitaker as its new chief people officer. The AM100’s second-placed car retail group by turnover appointed Whitaker on a full-time basis seven months after he joined the business as its interim HR director and is described by the business as an accomplished Group HR director with almost 30 years’ experience. In his new role, Whitaker will lead the company’s HR and internal communications operations, Lookers said. [...]

Pendragon delivers underlying PBT of £8.2m in COVID-hit year of two halves – AM Online

Pendragon has reported an underlying profit before tax of £8.2 million in 2020 annual financial results which painted a picture of a COVID-19 impacted year of two halves for the car retail sector. The former AM100-topping franchised car retail group turned around a £31m underlying loss before tax in lockdown-hit H1 trading to deliver £39m underlying PBT in the second half of the year to make what market analyst Zeus Capital described as “good progress in testing times”.

Despite a 35.1% decline in turnover during the year, to £2.92bn (2019: £4.51bn), the underlying PBT figure represented a 150% improvement on the previous year, when it suffered a £16.4m loss.In a statement issued via the London Stock Exchange on March 24, Pendragon said that the positive result had come in a year which saw the roll-out an organisation structure review delivering annual equivalent benefit of over £35m.


Cambria Automobiles CEO leads MBO bid for AM100 car retail PLC - AM Online

Cambria Automobiles chief executive Mark Lavery, finance director James Mullins and managing director Tim Duckers are exploring the possibility of a management buy-out of the AM100 PLC.

A statement issued via the London Stock Exchange on March 22 revealed that the luxury car retail group’s board had consented to exploration of the possibility of the trio acquiring the entire share issue at a price of 80p per share.

Today's statement said that, while “there can be no certainty” that an offer will be made “a further announcement will be made when appropriate”. [...]

TrustFord launches Future Leaders programme for staff – Motor Trader

Trust Ford, the factory owned dealer group, has launched a Future Leaders programme for its employees. Earlier in the year colleagues were invited to apply for a programme designed to develop tomorrow’s leaders and, following the endorsement of line managers, 150 applications were submitted.

Originally the company had planned an intake in the first year of 20 decided to take on 46 due to the quality of the candidates. Led by training group the Engagement Coach and Mike Moseley, learning and development manager, the 12-14-month course will include all aspects of management and leadership and each participant will be provided with their own personal progression pathway. The candidates, 35% of whom are women, have been selected from across business areas, including parts, logistics, sales, IT, fleet, finance, aftersales and marketing. [...]

Showroom reopenings a ‘ray of light’ after 14% February car manufacturing dip – AM Online

Next month’s post-Lockdown reopening of car showrooms across the UK has been described as a “ray of light” following another 14% decline in UK manufacturer’s vehicle output in February. Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) data published on March 26 showed that 105,008 vehicles rolled off production lines last month as the sector suffered an 8.1% decline in exports and 34.9% reduction in demand for UK-built models in their home market.

UK car manufacturing’s 18th consecutive month of decline – the weakest February performance in more than a decade – was attributed to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, post-Brexit customs issues and component supply constraints. February’s result leaves the sector’s output down 20.6% at 191,060 units. [...]

Fuel sales beginning to edge up as England takes the first steps out of lockdown – Forecourt Trader

Overall fuel sales have begun to edge up as the first steps are being taken out of the lockdown in England, according to the latest figures from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Average sales across Great Britain for the week ending March 14 were up 3.2% compared with the previous week and were 76% of a typical week before the first lockdown (which started 23 March 2020). Average sales were 3.5% higher than the previous week in England 0.5% up in Wales and 1.3% higher in Scotland.

Average diesel sales were at 81% and petrol sales were 69% of a typical week before lockdown, with average daily sales per filling station of 8,460 litres of diesel and 5,030 litres of petrol, giving a daily total of 13,490 litres. [...]

Online sales take record share as retail bags better February – Sky News

The proportion of overall online retail sales hit a record 36.1% in February as business bounced back despite stores deemed 'non-essential' remaining shut under coronavirus restrictions, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) charted a limited bounce back for total sales growth following a slump of 8.2% in January. The rise of 2.1% for sales in February, compared with the previous month, was in line with the predictions of economists and better than industry figures reported earlier in the month. [...]

COVID-19: Falling fashion and second-hand car costs drive inflation down to 0.4% - Sky News

The rate of inflation has taken an unexpected plunge on the back of a coronavirus crisis-driven fall in fashion costs - the deepest since 2009. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the consumer prices index (CPI) measure eased to 0.4% in February from 0.7% the previous month. [...]

Car battery failure increases by a third during lockdown – Fleet News

The likeliness of a car needing a new battery due to failure has increased by a third, according to TrakM8. In analysing the effects of lockdown on vehicle health, the telematic provider also found that the number of car batteries that needed a recharge increased by 46%. The research, which looked into the overall health of more than 5,000 vehicles, revealed a 4% decline in fault codes, corresponding with a significant reduction in mileage triggered by the pandemic. [...]