Pendragon looks to renew frayed links with carmakers

The boss of car dealership group Pendragon has said working with Chinese electric vehicle group BYD is the first step to rebuilding its reputation among carmakers after years of declining relationships.

As the company reported a better than expected 30 per cent drop in profits because of higher costs, chief executive Bill Berman said it was trying to win back automakers that stopped working with the business under his predecessor, longtime boss Trevor Finn. Pendragon was built up into the largest car dealership group in the UK over two decades through acquisitions. However, during its expansion, several of the UK’s largest or most profitable brands, such as Volkswagen and Audi, cut ties.

“We had officially pissed everybody off,” said Berman, who joined the business in 2019. While relationship breakdowns often have blame on two sides, “this was all on us”, he told the Financial Times. This year, the company will open eight dealerships for Chinese manufacturer BYD, the first new carmaker with which it has worked in decades. Pendragon was in talks with several other new electric Chinese brands looking to break into the UK and Europe, Berman said.

It also wanted to win back several of the carmakers driven away under the previous leadership. In the latter years of Finn’s tenure, Pendragon had increasingly prioritised used cars, although it kept some links with large carmakers such as Jaguar Land Rover through its Stratstone brand. Relationships between dealership owners and car manufacturers are crucial when selling new vehicles but matter far less with used car businesses.


Inchcape’s ongoing car distribution focus delivers 50% profit growth

Inchcape chief executive Duncan Tait has highlighted the success of the automotive PLC’s “portfolio shift towards distribution” as it reported a near-50% growth in profits in its 2022 annual financial results.

Group revenue rose 18% to £8.1 billion, as new vehicle supplies started to recover following post-COVID shortages, with the group reporting that “higher margins and operating leverage” had helped it to a 49.8% rise in pre-tax profits to £373m (2021: £249m).

In a results statement issued via the London Stock Exchange this morning (March 23), Inchcape’s CEO said the group’s acquisition of Derco – Latin America’s largest automotive distributor – and the roll-out of its UK used car supermarket division, bravoauto, into nine countries had also played their part.


Agency to hit Inchcape UK annual revenues by £200m but no impact on profits

The introduction of agency in the UK will cut revenues at Inchcape’s UK business by about 10% or £200m a year but the impact on operating will be ‘negligible”. That’s the view of the group as it set out in its annual results.

“From the start of 2023, in the UK certain manufacturers will change the way they sell new vehicles, choosing to sell directly to consumers via dealer groups, and as such Inchcape will only recognise a handling-fee, not the selling price of the vehicle.

“The estimated impact of this change on Inchcape’s reported retail revenue is a c.£200m reduction. The impact on operating profit is expected to be negligible,” it said.


Pendragon delivers ‘resilient’ 2022 performance despite dip in pre-tax profit

Pendragon delivered a ‘resilient’ performance in 2022 it has said, despite a dip in pre-tax profit.

The listed dealer group published its full-year results for 2022 this morning (Mar 22) via the London Stock Exchange.

The results showed like-for-like revenue grew by 6.7 per cent from £3.5bn in 2021 to £3.6bn in 2022.


Pendragon's £57.6 million profits "exceeded 2022 expectations"

The £57.6m underlying pre-tax profit that Pendragon made in 2022 has exceeded expectations, despite being a 30.6% drop on 2021's £83m earnings.

The AM100 motor retailer, which trades under the Stratstone and Evans Halshaw brands, had been expected by market analysts to deliver £49m.

Its results for 2022 show that revenue grew by 4.9% to £3.62 billion, and operating profit declined just 6.1% to £101m.

Chief executive Bill Berman said: "We delivered a resilient trading performance against a challenging backdrop last year.


Arnold Clark Autoparts begins rollout of new trade website

Arnold Clark Autoparts has begun rolling out a new trade website.

It will allow customers in Glasgow can now access the group’s wide product range, 24 hours a day.

The website allows users to browse parts and compare pricing options, and see which parts are available for any vehicle using the vehicle registration look up tool.

Craig McCracken, group factor manager at Arnold Clark Autoparts, said: “The new website is an invaluable tool for our trade customers looking to maximise efficiency, allowing them to arrange delivery of the parts needed for the following day.

“The go-live of the new site is the latest step in a series of innovations we’re working on to help our customers, and really make the most of the digital tools available that help us serve our customers in a quicker way. Waiting on hold to see if certain parts are available is now a thing of the past.


Snows Motor Group plans target Toyota and Lexus dealership for Poole

Snows Motor Group is aiming to introduce a Toyota dealership to Poole through the creation of a new dual franchise dealership including space for the Japanese carmaker’s Lexus premium brand.

A planning application submitted to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP Council) outlines plans for the of 1433 square metre retail facility, which the AM100 car retail group wants to develop on the site of a former car storage facility on Yarrow Road, Poole.

The Bournemouth Echo reported that, if successful, the plans would result in the introduction of a Toyota showroom to the South Coast town for the first time.

Hendy Group currently operates Lexus’ Poole franchise on West Quay Road and a Toyota dealership, less than two miles away, in nearby Bournemouth.


Lookers targets ‘world class surroundings’ with £1.8m Kia Chester transformation

Lookers is targeting "world class surroundings" from a £1.8 million redevelopment of its Kia Chester showroom to comply with the Korean carmaker’s new corporate identity (CI).

Work is now underway at Sealand Road facility as the AM100 car retail PLC continues its drive to pursue a raft of dealership development plans across its property portfolio.

As well as developing a new Lotus Cars dealership in Belfast, the group is introducing Great Wall Motors (GWM) Ora dealerships in Braintree, Belfast and Wolverhampton, BYD in Middlesborough, Sheffield and Northern Ireland and the XBus electric van brand in Gateshead during 2023.

And that comes on top a muti-million-pound investment to grow its fleet of mobile service vans as it pursues growth in cosmetic repair and alloy wheel refurbishment.


Plymouth Argyle sponsorship raises Vertu Motors’ South Coast profile

Vertu Motors has struck a sponsorship deal with Wembley-bound Plymouth Argyle Football Club as part of efforts to grow its profile on the South Coast.

The deal struck with the League One football club will see Vertu Motors branding appear on their kit when they take to the pitch at England’s national stadium to take on Bolton Wanderers in the Papa John Trophy final on April 2.

It comes as the AM100 car retail group rolls-out its branding across the 28 former Helston Garages dealership locations it acquired in December.

So far, Jaguar dealerships in Exeter, Taunton and Truro and Land Rover dealerships in Exeter, Taunton, Truro and Yeovil have been brought under the Vertu Motors retail brand.