CAMBRIA Automobiles is looking to improve its profitability by scaling back its Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Jeep franchises.
In a trading update for the 11 months leading up to July 31, 2018, the group confirmed its Fiat dealership in Warrington is being replaced by a new Peugeot showroom on the same site.
The group is also making room for two new Bentley dealerships and one Lamborghini showroom by closing its Alfa Romeo and Jeep operations in Chelmsford, as well as its Honda and Mazda operations in Royal Tunbridge Wells.
Cambria also closed its loss-making Blackburn site in June, which represented Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Renault and Volvo. The site’s freehold element is now being marketed for sale.
The group’s Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Arch concept development in Swindon was completed in July, with the Jaguar showroom next door and the Land Rover dealership in Royal Wootton Bassett both having been moved to the new site.
Building work for McLaren, JLR and Aston Martin facilities in Hatfield began in February. The JLR showroom is due to open in December, while the McLaren and Aston Martin dealerships will be ready in January 2019.
In total, 18 per cent of the group’s operations were either closed down or refranchised in the period, causing significant disruption to day-to-day activity.
Adjusted profit for the first half of the period was down 14.3 per cent year-on-year, while pressure on the new car market caused further difficulties in the second half.
Trading performance was down 6.4 per cent year-on-year, while unit sales were down 6.6 per cent. However, aftersales helped increase profits by 2.5 per cent.
Mark Lavery, chief executive of Cambria Automobiles, said: ‘I am pleased that we continue to deliver solid financial results in a difficult market, which has not been helped by the government’s inconsistent messaging around its forward-looking position on diesel engines.
‘Whilst the group’s financial results are behind the prior year, as previously flagged due to the pressures in the new car market, the board is confident of delivering a full-year result in line with market expectations.
‘The team has had a busy 2018 thus far, with a number of franchising changes and delivery of major property refurbishments and developments. Whilst the property and franchising initiatives have impacted the current financial year, they leave the group well placed with a significantly enhanced property portfolio and an increase in representation in the high luxury segment.
‘The addition of two Bentley, two Lamborghini and one McLaren franchise have helped diversify the group’s brand portfolio, while also providing a significant opportunity as these businesses mature in their new sites. The board is confident the platform is now in place to drive future growth.’