February 2020 saw the average UK car retailer lose £17,500 – but that was an improvement of more than £2,000 over the loss made in 2019, according to the latest data published today by ASE Automotive Solutions.
Mike Jones, pictured, chairman of the dealer profitability specialist, said the second month of the year was always a tough one for UK motor retail, as it was short plus everyone was looking towards March, but 2020’s figure was ‘comparatively good’.
He commented: ‘Retailers have been working hard over recent months to move towards a strong used car stock profile and this continued in February. Average stand-in-values were at their lowest since mid-2019, reflecting the lower proportion of nearly new stock and improvements in stock turn.
‘The strength of the used car market continued during February, with return on investment coming within touching distance of 80 per cent. This represents its highest levels since the used car market drops in the second quarter of 2019.’
But all that is going to change – and change big time…
‘Coronavirus is clearly going to have a massive effect on retailer profitability for 2020,’ said Jones.
‘It hit during the busiest month of the year and will undoubtedly see a large decrease in profit for March, even with manufacturers guaranteeing retailer bonuses. How quickly we get going and how fast we bounce back will clearly be critical.’