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MG Rover hits Arnold Clark profits

The UK’s largest privately-owned dealer group Arnold Clark Automobiles will reveal a fall in profits when it publishes its interim results next month.

Group turnover is expected to have remained stable at £1.6bn, supported by relatively strong used car sales. New car sales have been impacted by the nationwide slow-down in consumer spending, but finance director Kenneth Maclean says the effects have not been as severe in Scotland as in the rest of the UK.

Figures published in June’s AM100 show used car volumes up to 96,175 from 87,423 in 2004, while new car volumes had dipped to 64,860 from 67,560 the previous year.

Maclean says the business has been hurt badly by the collapse of MG Rover. Arnold Clark had 10 dealerships representing the British carmaker. Many were dual-franchised, so the group has switched them to concentrate on the remaining franchise. One Glasgow site has re-franchised as Vauxhall, and another in Dundee has replaced MG Rover with Kia.

“The situation with MG Rover will end up costing us millions of pounds, but that is through a mixture of write-offs, lack of trading during this financial year, as well as provision for warranty cases,” says Maclean.

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