Paul Dixon, Dixon Motors chief executive, has described the group's financial performance in 2000, which saw a year-on-year fall in profits before tax from £8.6m to £7.8m, as a “creditable peformance” in and extraordinary and unpredictable period.
Other highlights of the year-ends released today was turnover up 6.4% from £660m to 702.2m and gross profit up 15.6% from £89m to £102.9m.
Operating profit in the car division reached £11.3m (1999: £9.8m), Car Clinics £866,000 (£888,000) and motorcycles £1.93m (£2.7m).
The group sold 63,991 new and used cars, including 1,133 through its internet operation with Direct Line, jamjar.com, representing a 11.5% increase on the 1999 sales total of 57,404 units.
Mr Dixon said: “Consumer confidence was undoubtedly affected by the escalation of uncertainty surrounding car prices, a factor which, along with the fuel crisis, severely reduced demand.
“But in all instances Dixon was quick to anticipate adverse effects, including falling used car prices, and whilst other retailers seemed to lessen the pace, Dixon tackled the issues with a massive push in the last quarter from the sales team, aggressive marketing campaigns and a concerted effort in all areas of the business to reduce costs wherever possible.”
Of the Car Clinics operation, Mr Dixon said he was continuing with expansion plans.
The Jamjar operation, he said, had clearly shown that there is demand for purchasing cars via the internet and retail sites. Orders for 2001 to the end of February were “over 800 units”.
“In offering an alternative route to market, we are able to cater for consumers who are confident in what they are buying and who wish to purchase direct.
“Online trading allows Dixon to work towards its goal of becoming the industry's lowest cost operator. But that said, the strides made last year into the online market are in no way at the expense of our existing dealership network,” Mr Dixon said.