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RMB Automotive warns against over optimism in market, while reporting performance boost

RMB Automotive, which owns car dealerships across the North East, has recorded an increase in pre-tax profits during a year in which it opened a Ford site and purchased land in Darlington as it looks to expand.

A stronger new car market and the improving economy were recognised as factors behind a successful year for the Stockton-based company.

For the year ending December 31, 2013, pre-tax profit increased to £603,914 from £324,502 for the same period the year before. Turnover also increased from 2012's total of £40.4m to £45.1m.

However, writing in the annual report, RMB managing director Robert Bennett said: "While the market is continuing to grow and the economy is recovering to levels last seen before the banking crisis, there is still some caution about the level of high street spending, especially as there is a strong possibility of rising interest rates.

"There is also strong competition for car sales, particularly as the car markets in Europe aren’t as buoyant as the UK and all manufacturers are fighting for their share of the market."

Looking to the future though, Bennett added that the economic outlook for 2014 is still good, as the car dealer looks to build on a "much improved" 2013.

Bennett also said that the new Ford operation in Northallerton is "performing ahead of expectation and is expected to continue with strong growth through 2014".

New model launches are also expected to attract new customers to the Toyota and Lexus brands, of which the company has four dealerships in total (one Lexus and three Toyota).

The group, which also runs Toyota dealerships in Stockton, Northallerton and Darlington and sells Lexus models from Stockton, opened a new Ford dealership last year and said an additional piece of land has been bought adjacent to the Darlington Toyota Centre for future expansion.

The new Darlington Toyota Centre is set to be completed by quarter one of 2015, and will give the dealership "much needed additional capacity" to continue its growth.

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