To choose a group worthy of our ultimate business award, our judging panel scrutinises the winners from the two Best Dealer Group categories (up to/more than 10 sites), plus Best Used Car Dealer (independent and non-franchised) and Best Used Car Dealer (franchised) – and Arnold Clark Automobiles was the judges’ unanimous choice for 2019.
In an increasingly difficult market, the group’s turnover reached a record high of £3.9 billion, while increasing its staff numbers by 23% since 2014. It opened new sites in 2018, including a secondary head office in Glasgow, bringing its branch total to 200.
The opening of new branches (including a Motorstore car supermarket in Doncaster) contributed to a 10% increase in used car sales in 2018 (up 7.5% like-for-like). The expansion of its delivery centres – offering customers a wide choice of marques in their local area – has allowed the 12 sites to sell nearly 8,000 cars in 2018, up more than 100% year-on-year.
Arnold Clark is also one of the most people-focused groups in the motor retail sector. In 2018, after declaring 2017 the Year of the Employee, it created its five core values – family, community, communication, progression and recognition – as it strives to build a two-way relationship between management and staff. It is determined to achieve a better gender balance in the business, employ a greater diversity of people and reduce staff attrition.
Arnold Clark has one of the largest apprenticeship schemes in Scotland, with more than 300 vacancies attracting nearly 3,000 applications in 2018.
On the technology front, the group pioneered the use of image recognition in its first consumer app. Users can take a photo of any car’s registration plate, and see the exact specification of the photographed car if it’s in stock (with a finance breakdown), or closely matched alternatives if it is a non-Arnold Clark car.
Finalists: Imperial Cars; TrustFord; Gravells of Kidwelly; Holden & Holden
Award sponsored by Black Horse