The Yorkshire group, JCT600, has grown by acquisition yet again and is now nosing its way into the top ten of the AM100 list.
But managing director John Tordoff says that growth in itself is not an aim. It just seems to happen like that. “There just seems to be a natural gap. We have no desire to be the biggest.”
Financial results announced at the end of April showed that the company was up to a turnover of £465 million on which it made a profit of £8.2 million.
Profit has been higher. In 2005 it was £18 million. But Tordoff says that was an unusual year when there was a lot of property profit in the numbers.
Much of the improvement spins out of the economies made – painfully – last year when 100 people lost their jobs in the group. Management systems were put in place last year which have lifted performance considerably.
The group now employs 1,350 staff in 48 dealers.
The substantial acquisition last year was that of five Audi dealers in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
Three were bought for around £20 million from Tony Bramall. “Great range of cars – innately very profitable, “says Tordoff. He will continue to expand but has a loose rule of not buying premises more than a two hour drive from headquarters.
Figures suggest plenty of scope for further acquisitions. The group is only 25% geared.
Administration is through five brand directors who operate between the main board and the dealer principals.
In March, after the financial year being reported closed, JCT 600 set a record for a single month by selling 632 cars retailing at more than £10 million.
Tordoff describes the company as a family business – and one that will remain in the family.
“The end game for us is not to go public. We are not fattening a sacred cow. We enjoy this business. I am the third generation in it. I have a son in the business and so does my brother. The end game for us is nothing more than to keep the ball rolling and see where it takes us.
“We would like to be an employer of choice. We are doing a lot with our HR and are about to launch a training scheme. We would also like to be known by customers as the best.”