Sytner Group's pre-tax profits fell in its preliminary results for the 14 months to February 28. It made £8.1m compared with £8.5m in 1999 on turnover for the same period of £596.9m. The12-month figure was £521.9m, up from 1999's £405.4m.
Laurence Vaughan, chief executive, said the year had proved “challenging”, but the group was now much stronger. “After the uncertainties of the past 18 months, trading has improved considerably,” he said. “New car orders are up by more than 50% and we are confident of reporting first-class growth during the current year.”
The greatest influence on the Sytner results, like so many other dealer groups, was the new car pricing debate.
Mr Vaughan said: “The manufacturers took far longer to respond to consumer pressure than expected and this had a considerable effect on our new car business. While we maintained margins at acceptable levels, volumes were around 10% less than we anticipated at the beginning of the period.”