Lookers reports that its strong trading has continued through the third quarter, with around 8% volume growth in both new car and used car sales.
Group results for the year to October 1 are ahead of budget and up on last year, it said.
The group’s parts distribution division and its motor division are both trading ahead of management expectations.
Profits are improving in the parts division, while in the motor division new vehicle volumes have grown by 7.8% and used car sales are up 8%, with margins still at satisfactory levels.
Aftersales has also grown by 2%, with satisfactory margins, despite a national decline in this part of the market.
The group said it is continuing to refine its franchise portfolio, with the recent sale or closure of five underperforming businesses to raise cash which will be invested in new, stronger businesses.
Peter Jones, chief executive, said: “We are pleased with the strong trading performance in the third quarter, which follows the excellent result for the first half of the year.
“Whilst market conditions remain challenging, the strong performance from both the parts and motor divisions, combined with our reduced cost base and strengthened balance sheet, give us confidence that we will continue to trade successfully for the rest of the year and be able to take advantage of growth opportunities which may arise in 2011 and beyond.”
The group said it is “very confident” that the results for the financial year to December 31 2010 should exceed management expectations.
“Our strong balance sheet and headroom in our bank facilities also enables us to pursue strategic acquisition opportunities in both the motor and parts divisions, which will help underpin growth in future years,” it added.