John Clark Motor Group saw its EBITDA profit rise to £12.8m in 2019 from £12.6m the year before – on a reduced turnover of nearly £821m.
In its accounts for the year ending December 31, 2019 – filed as John Clark (Holdings) Ltd and published on the Companies House website last Friday (Jan 8) – the family-run and owned business said 2019 had played out against ‘a continued background of marketplace challenges caused by economic and political uncertainty, which led to reduced consumer confidence’.
However, the company (JCMG) still managed to see positive results, with new vehicle sales rising by exactly 100 units to 14,167 and used vehicles going up from 15,973 to 16,333 units.
Aftersales revenue, meanwhile, soared from £70.4m to £76.3m.
EBITDA profit for 2019 came in at £12,766,501 versus £12,592,062 in 2018, with turnover down from £823,571,816 to £820,775,626.
The profit figure would have put it at 19th in the Car Dealer Top 100 of most profitable dealerships in the UK.
Chairman John Clark said: ‘In addition to the economic and political pressures, dealer groups were under sustained demand to deliver high new car sales targets which resulted in self registrations and increased interest costs.
‘As a result, many leading dealer groups reported a decline in turnover during 2019, but the strength and mix of JCMG’s franchise portfolio resulted in JCMG holding our turnover at £821m.
‘The first half-year was ahead in terms of turnover, whereas the remaining six months proved more challenging, mainly due to the September Real Driving Emissions legislation change, which had an impact on new vehicle product supply during a new car registration month.’
Group managing Director Chris Clark added: ‘During 2017 and 2018, the group continued to invest in its Jaguar Land Rover franchises with investment in Edinburgh East, the acquisition of Stirling and the opening of a dealership in Dundee plus the redevelopment of the Elgin dealership, which resulted in growth in turnover and profitability for this division.
‘In addition, the acquisition of Volvo Cars in Edinburgh and Dundee in 2018 saw 2019 as then the first full year of trading and an encouraging contribution to the group’s performance.’
He added: ‘JCMG also continue to invest in its people as we believe they are the backbone of our business. Training is recognised as a key if not essential issue to then deliver business success.’
Reflecting on 2020 and the pandemic, it said financial performance had fluctuated along with the government’s restrictive guidelines.
This had led to high losses in April and May, but subsequent months proved strong for vehicle sales and aftersales, with the cumulative result seeing September 2020’s profits ahead of 2019.
As a result, the current projection for 2020 is much stronger than expected.
For 2021, it plans to build on developing its digital sales platform, which it substantially developed during 2020, as it sees online sales increasingly accounting for its performance.
The first quarter will see it complete its relocation of the BMW and BMW Motorrad business in Dundee to a new state-of-the-art premises.
The Mini and Volvo premises in Dundee will see major investment and expansion as well, with the Land Rover site at Newbridge in Edinburgh being redeveloped, along with a new site for Volvo Edinburgh at Newbridge as well.
John Clark said: ‘We continue to progress our 2021 and 2022 facilities investment plans, as well as seek to support our colleagues and customers as we navigate through the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
‘From a financial perspective, we have a strong balance sheet and remain profitable, so we are in a robust and highly liquid position.
‘We plan to use this and maintain our industry-leading position by continuing to seize and build upon the right acquisition and investment opportunities.’
Chris Clark added: ‘The past few years have seen the motor industry tackle some tough challenges with 2019 and 2020 being no different.
‘However, I am extremely proud and grateful of our team who continue to focus on driving the business forward while maintaining a strong and very loyal customer base. I am very optimistic about the future.’
Established more than 40 years ago with a solo sports car dealership, the family-run and owned company now has 39 businesses across Scotland and represents 15 brands.
Car Dealer earlier reported on accounts for a subsidiary of John Clark Motor Group. We apologise for the error.
Pictured via Google Street View is the John Clark Mini and BMW dealership in Dundee as of September 2020
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