JOHNSONS Cars has bought four of the Sytner Group’s Volkswagen dealerships in England – currently a third of Sytner’s sites devoted to the marque.
The price tag hasn’t been revealed, but it sees Johnsons taking over the showrooms in Warrington, Liverpool, Stafford and Stoke – increasing its VW portfolio to nine dealerships and leaving Sytner with one VW franchise in Llandudno, two in Belfast and four in Yorkshire.
A fifth Yorkshire VW site owned by Sytner – in Halifax – is to close at the end of November.
Writing on Twitter, dealer profitability expert Mike Jones, chairman of ASE Automotive Solutions, hailed the purchase as ‘Big growth for Johnsons’.
Last year, Johnsons saw turnover rise by 20 per cent to £432m and it reported an operating profit of £5.5m with a pre-tax profit of £4.07m. In the previous year – to December 31, 2017 – its turnover rose by 12 per cent to £360m, with it making an operating profit of £2.5m and a pre-tax profit of £1.4m.
Meanwhile, in the year to December 31, 2018, Sytner made an operating profit of £127.1m and pre-tax profit of £113.3m on a turnover of nearly £6bn – up on 2017’s operating profit of £109.4m and pre-tax profit of £99.1m on revenue of £5.6bn, which at the time was the highest in the group’s history.
In January last year, Sytner – which is wholly owned by the Penske Automotive Group and has dealerships and specialist franchises across the UK – bought The Car People for an estimated £81m, creating a used car supermarket division by merging it with CarShop, the latter of which it bought for £71.8m in January 2017, making it the UK’s biggest dealer group.