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Independent Dealer


There has been plenty of action in the short history of our ID50 ranking of the UK’s largest independent dealers by turnover. Now in its third year, we have seen yet another major group lose its independence – the Carnell family sold off The Car People to franchised dealer Sytner, barely a year after Sytner also took CarShop out of the ID50 and, in the process, became the UK’s largest dealer group.

The acquisitions remain sporadic, however. More frequent at present are ID50 dealers buying extra land to increase their existing forecourt capacity to allow for higher sales volumes, or purchasing additional freehold or leasehold properties to take their brand into new territories.

With the number of franchised dealerships in decline, there are properties readily available for independent car dealers capitalising on the high volumes of two- to six-year-old stock available thanks to three years of unusually high new car registrations.

The independent classic car specialists no longer appear to be where it is at. Their earnings per member of staff remain strong, given the low fixed overheads under which many operate, yet their overall profits are in decline as the market values falter for all but the best and rarest examples.

Look out for your next Independent Dealer magazine this autumn, and do get in touch with me at if there is something you would like to see more of. Meanwhile, make your regular source of industry news.



ID50 2018

ID50 breaks through the
£4bn barrier

Despite some high-profile exits from the ID50 over the past 12 months, combined revenues increased by almost £350 million.

ID50 2018 in numbers

Facts and figures: The ID50 in numbers

The eye-catching numbers from this year’s analysis of the UK’s 50 biggest independent car dealers.

The ID50 2018

Independent Dealer has identified the 50 biggest independent car dealers in the UK and analysed the best performers by turnover, profitability and stock turn.

The geography of the ID50

Independent Dealer has mapped the locations of every sales site run by members of the ID50 2018 in the UK.



Matt Kay Cartime independent dealer

How Cartime's Matt Kay went confidently into the unknown

Matt Kay had no experience, no funding and no stock when he sold his first car 18 years ago, but it was the beginning of his current 700-car business.


Afzal Kahn, Kahn Designs

Kahn Design's Afzal Kahn:
‘We see cars as fashion’

Afzal Kahn believes his high-end, coach-built designs offer a lucrative opportunity for the right independent dealer partner.

Shakeel Shah, Shak's Specialist Cars

Shak’s Specialist Cars plans to enter the premier league

Shakeel Shah has worked night and day to build his supercar business into a success. Now he plans to take it to the next level.

Down on the Ferrari farm with DK Engineering

The Cottingham family explains how a barn in Hertfordshire become a showroom for some of the world’s best-known Ferraris.



Independent dealer auctions

How independent dealers can get more out of auctions

Millions of cars are sold by auction in the UK every year. Here are Independent Dealer's best-practice tips to get the most out of every bid.

ID classifieds feature

Six ways dealers can improve online used car classifieds

Good descriptions, imagery and accurate specifications are the keys to successful online used car classifieds, say experts.

Independent dealer finance feature

Online vs in-showroom finance – which one wins?

Making sure your used car customer gets the right finance offer for them is paramount. We look at what works best in different situations.

Independent dealer stock preparation feature

Time spent preparing stock is well rewarded

Used car dealers have a wide range of approaches to prepping cars, but taking the time to do it properly leads to greater efficiency overall.


Used car dealer technology

How used car dealers can profit from tech tools

Technological tools can enable used car dealers to make efficiency gains – and bigger profits.


Independent Dealer used car warranties

Independent Dealer's top tips for warranty success

Independent Dealer's eight-step guide to making warranties work for your used car dealership.

Independent dealer aftersales add-ons

Is it time for independents to look harder at aftersales?

A small number of independent dealers boost their bottom line with aftersales. Should more follow suit?

Used car customer service

Show used car customers the love to win more sales

Going the extra mile for used car customers can make a world of difference to your business, and it’s often not expensive or complicated.