Barons BMW from Google StreetviewBarons BMW from Google Streetview


Group 1 Automotive profits soar 40 per cent in 2021 as it rakes in £1.7bn

  • Group 1 profits hit £1.7bn in 2021
  • UK dealerships contribute nearly £70m profit
  • Firm is second US group to announce record year

Time 8:01 am, February 11, 2022

American dealer Group 1 Automotive which runs more than 70 car dealerships in the UK has announced gross profits of £1.7bn for 2021.

The firm is the second US automotive giant to announce a record year with revenue leaping nearly 20 per cent to $13.5bn (£9.9bn).

Revenue in the UK was up 26.5 per cent to £468m and gross profit leapt by nearly 41 per cent to £68.7m.

Overall gross profit for the company rocketed – by nearly 41 per cent – to $2.4bn (£1.7bn).

Group 1 Automotive has 202 dealerships in the US and UK, 70 of which are in this country.

It runs the BMW, Mercedes, Audi, VW, Seat, Skoda, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Toyota and Ford new car sites as well as a handful of used car centres in the UK.

The dealerships are predominantly based in London, the home counties and on the south coast and operate under the Barons, Beadles and Think Ford names.

Earl J. Hesterberg, Group 1’s president and CEO, said: ‘The record profits achieved in 2021 were a function of an agile management team responding to constant challenges created by the pandemic, along with a very powerful service operation and strong cost control.  

Top 10 franchised graphic

‘Despite these choppy operational waters, I am very pleased that we were able to dramatically increase the size of our company with the acquisition of $2.5bn in additional annual revenues, while at the same time returning significant capital to our shareholders via share repurchases.

‘The acquisition of the Prime Auto Group in the northeastern US, along with the pending sale of our Brazilian operations, which is scheduled to close in Q2, puts us in a strong position to continue this type of flexible capital allocation in the year ahead.’

Group 1 will raise $77.5m from the sale of its Brazilian operations when that completes.

During 2021, the firm bought 58 dealerships in the States and disposed of six. 

Group 1’s record results follow yesterday’s news that Sytner owner Penske Automotive Group also posted an all-time best year.

The results for the American listed dealer groups is an insight into what is to come as the UK-based businesses begin to report on their 2021 performance later this year.

The motor industry enjoyed what many will regard as the best year in their history thanks to a combination of government support, rising used car prices and increased demand.

Group 1 was the ninth most profitable dealer group in 2020 according to our Car Dealer Top 100 list. In 2020 its UK operations made EBITDA profit of £36.1m.

Main image: Barons BMW, Hindhead, via Google Streetview

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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