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Arnold Clark to push ahead with plan for four car auction centres

Arnold Clark chief executive, Eddie Hawthorne

Arnold Clark will push ahead with plans for four new used car remarketing centres in 2023, despite pressure from the stock shortages impacting the sector.

Chief executive Eddie Hawthorne told AM earlier this year that the AM100’s second-placed car retail group by turnover planned to grow an auctions business after completing the acquisition of Glasgow’s Central Car Auctions business.

And the intention to grow the business, which would remarket some of the vehicles acquired through its Sell My Car online car buying platform as part of its offering, remains despite sharing the sector’s growing struggles to acquire stock.

“The plan remains the same,” Hawthorne told AM today (November 22). “We’re probably going to open four new sites in 2023, based on the central model.

“In terms of the plan for the business there is a struggle to get supply – as there is in the whole sector – but with used car values remaining buoyant, it’s still a really good opportunity for us.”

In May Hawthorne has reported an “excellent” 2021 financial performance with revenues up 25% to £4.7 billion (2020: £3.8bn) as profit before tax rose 68% to £263 million (2020: £156.5m).

Hawthorne told AM that Arnold Clark was looking on-track to deliver its second-best financial year ever, despite the market headwinds of reduced stock, soaring energy prices and inflation in double figures.

“Just like everyone else we had a fantastic year last year,” he said. “This year will be a little bit behind, but it will still probably be the second best we’ve ever had and that will largely be down to finance income and overheads.”

Earlier this year Arnold Clark announced its exit from the Toyota and Ford franchises.

At the time Hawthorne asserted that “no jobs will be lost” as Ford approved aftersales, Motorstore used car retail or new franchises were moved into the six Toyota dealerships and 20 Ford sites affected by the changes.

Speaking to AM today he said that the operation had been carried out smoothly, ensuring the businesses to “didn’t miss a beat”.

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