Cambria Automobiles reveals painful impact of lockdowns as new and used car sales fall for dealer group

Time 10 months ago

Cambria has revealed the impact of lockdowns on its business in a trading update to the Stock Market – and it makes for grim reading.

New and used car sales, as well as its workshops, were all heavily impacted by the second national lockdown in November.

Revealing trading numbers for September, October and November, the group – which operates under the Doves, Grange and Dees brands – said new car sales were down 12.9 per cent.


Franchises in the Cambria portfolio include Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren and Rolls Royce.

Used car sales during the period were down by a quarter (25.9 per cent) compared to the same period the year before, but there was a glimmer of hope as profit per unit ‘increased significantly’.

Aftersales operations delivered an ‘acceptable performance’, said Cambria, with revenue down 9.6 per cent.

The group said it is continuing to keep costs under control, is thankful for the business rates relief that is in place until April, and revealed it still has staff on furlough.  

Cambria was 14th in the Car Dealer Top 100 list of most profitable dealers in the UK. In 2019, it generated revenues of £657.8m and EBITDA profit of £17m.

The group said the Brexit deal announced on Christmas Eve was a ‘relief’, however looking to the future it said there was still concern.

The statement said: ‘The uncertainty created by Covid-19 remains a major concern for stakeholders in the sector as the spread of the virus continues to accelerate and the need for more restrictive lockdown actions have been implemented by the government.  

‘The recent announcements of approved vaccines is seen as a very positive step and we are hopeful that this will help to stem the spread of the virus as the vaccines become effective and enable the government to reduce the restrictions. 

 ‘The group continues to work as effectively as possible in the face of the challenges outlined and continues to take a prudent approach to managing the cost base and cash flow whilst utilising all of the learnings from nationwide lockdowns to ensure that it delivers a safe and effective environment for its associates and guests while abiding by the restrictions in place.’

The Stock Market announcement did not include any financial information but the group did say that the lockdowns will have a ‘material impact’ on the group’s performance this year.

‘As a result, the board deems it prudent to continue the suspension of financial guidance to the market,’ added the statement.

In November, boss Mark Lavery told Car Dealer, in a video you can watch at the top of this most, that he was already preparing his group for a third lockdown.

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Lavery said: ‘We’re typically very conservative at Cambria and we’re working on the basis there could be a lockdown three.

‘We hope that there isn’t and we hope that we can get to the vaccine, but we have to be prepared for the worst.’

The group will hold its AGM at 10.30am today.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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