Chairman John MacArthur states in the report that the group has continued to respond to a changing marketplace in reorganising its structure to concentrate on prestige and specialist marques. And while its performance has still been affected by disruption following Block Exemption, six of its 11 operational regions have achieved a profit, backed by a significant contribution from finance sales.
A solid performance came from its specialist division, including record results from its Bentley and Lamborghini franchises, while that of its remaining business was varied. Good performances from Audi and Chrysler in particular were offset by difficult trading conditions at many of its remaining franchises, including Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and the Premier Automotive Group.
MacArthur remains positive for 2005, although warns that the high costs associated with operating within the M25 will require better cost-sharing support from the vehicle manufacturers HR Owen represents. “However, we are satisfied that the work in reorganising the group’s businesses into fewer manufacturing relationships through large market areas will prove to be a successful and profitable programme for the future,” he says.
“The first quarter has been a less satisfactory period for new and used vehicle sales. However, a significant number of new models from our core manufacturers introduced in the second half of the year will provide a sound base for improving results.”