The UK’s largest car dealer Pendragon will tell shareholders at its AGM this morning it is making good progress this year, with quarter one trading in line with expectations.
It reports 11.4% growth in Q1’s used car sales, leading to an 1.8% uplift in used retail gross profit.
Service retail sales held at last year’s level while gross margins for aftersales improved, following continued implementation of its vehicle health check programme.
Headed by chief executive Trevor Finn, Pendragon’s new car sales rose 15.7% like-for-like, with its Stratstone premium brand division achieving 13.8% growth in new retail sales, boosted by new models such as BMW 3-Series and Range Rover Evoque.
At the Evans Halshaw mainstream division new retail sales rose 3.1%, with margins maintained.
Continuing reduction of Pendragon’s debt profile resulted in a £3m lower interest charge in Q1, and sales of surplus property in the quarter netted £3m proceeds, with a further £10m of property in the process of disposal, with the proceeds to be used to reduce debt further.
Its statement added: “The group continues to make good progress in its key strategic areas. Used performance continues to be a significant growth area for the group and is differentiating us from our peer group.
"We are encouraged by our aftersales performance despite the difficult market conditions and the new car sector has benefited from some key new product launches in the first quarter.
"The group is on track to continue the momentum from 2011 and quarter one and remains in line with expectations for the full year.”