‘Consumer confidence has reduced substantially,’ said a statement. ‘As a consequence trading conditions have deteriorated significantly in the UK.’
Inchcape said the UK new car market was down 18.8 per cent to the end of September. Its like for like sales fell by 10.8 per cent.
‘We expect current trading conditions to remain difficult for the rest of 2008, and throughout 2009. As a consequence, we expect our underlying results for 2008 to be below consensus, and for 2009 to be significantly below our previous expectations.’
Group CEO André Lacroix said: ‘The global financial crisis… is clearly affecting consumer confidence, mainly in the mature markets and this is having an impact on the purchase of big ticket items.’
The group is undertaking a £55m recovery programme. Steps will include a focus on improving market share in parts and service divisions. These account for half of all Inchcape’s profits.
‘We are not immune from the current industry slowdown, and we are taking appropriate actions to right-size our cost base,’ added Lacroix. ‘This includes a big reduction in overheads – the effects of which on car dealers we’ll be monitoring here at Car Dealer.
Inchcape’s core brands are Audi, BMW, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Toyota/Lexus and Volkswagen.