Vertu Motors has issued a trading statement as the car dealer closes its financial year today which highlighted its passing of the £1bn revenue mark for the first time.
It revealed its new car retail order take for the March plate-change month is 10.3% up on the same month last year, and the board is confident of achieving growth in its new financial year.
It said in the five months to the end of January it outperformed the UK market in sales volumes while maintaining gross profit per unit in each channel.
In that period the AM100 group’s new car private registrations fell 4.2% against the national 8.5% drop, with gross profit maintained thanks to high levels of manufacturer bonuses.
Fleet and commercial vehicle sales volumes rose 10.1% on a like-for-like basis, outperforming the UK fleet new car market, which rose by 5.8%, and the UK new commercial market, which grew by 9.0% in the same period.
The gross profit per unit achieved on these vehicle sales was above the historic norm of £350 per unit.
Used car volumes grew by 14.7% overall and 1.4% on a like-for-like basis, in the period, against a UK market that was flat, while maintaining gross profit per unit above the £1,000 industry benchmark, and generating a return on investment in used cars of 129%.
In the crucial area of aftersales the car dealer group, which is headed by chief executive Robert Forrester, has continued to grow its gross profits, with strengthened parts and bodyshop margins offsetting a decline in service margin due to a strategy to attract older vehicles through lower pricing.
“The group continues to implement clearly defined initiatives to improve customer retention and workshop efficiencies. These are going hand in hand with increased investment in training programmes to improve levels of customer service which will in turn aid customer retention,” Vertu’s statement added.