The company said it will continue to expand and opened a new Bristol Street Motor Nation used car outlet in Doncaster at the end of January.
In its pre-close trading statement, Vertu said: “The new car market has remained resilient in the second half of 2007 and into 2008, despite the perceived weakening in the underlying consumer environment.
“National new car registrations to private buyers in the September to January period rose 0.8% compared to the prior year. On a like-for-like basis for Bristol Street Motors’ dealerships, new car volumes sold to private customers rose 10.3%. This growth reflected strong consumer offers and incentives to dealers by manufacturers, coupled with improvements in business processes in the sales arena.”
Vertu said the used car market remains stable with residual value trends in line with previous years, except for the nearly new market, which continues to be impacted by the strength of the new car offers.
On a like-for-like basis for Bristol Street Motors’ dealerships for the period September to January, used car volumes increased by 29.4% year on year.
The company said: "Used vehicle margins have continued to be at lower levels than historically achieved by the business as the Group increases the volumes of vehicles sold."
Like-for-like used car volumes in the Bristol Street Motor Nation used car outlets rose 2.0% in the September to January period. The strategy in the Bristol Street Motor Nation business has been to reduce stock levels while seeking to maintain sales so as to improve stock turn and financial returns.
Vertu said that March reflects the largest month for vehicle sales and dealership profitability in the financial year and that new car order levels coming into March remain on plan.
Vertu said: "While the group is aware of the challenging market conditions in the UK, it looks forward to continuing to gain market share and to delivering against its stated strategy in the year ahead."