Motorline doubles 2020 pre-tax profits but relies heavily on government furlough cash, claiming £7.1m

  • Motorline ended 2020 recording £6.1m pre-tax profit – up from £2.8m on 2019
  • Dealer group exited Renault franchise and sold off property worth £3.7m
  • Accounts reveal it also claimed £7.1m in furlough cash
  • Firm says it’s ‘confident of achieving a strong result for 2021 that exceeds the 2020 performance’

Time 1 month ago

Dealer group Motorline saw profits more than double to £6.1m in 2020 as it battled with lockdowns, sold off property and relied on government furlough cash.

Accounts filed with Companies House reveal profit before tax totalled £6.1m in 2020 – up from £2.8m in 2019.

Turnover came in at £695.2m – down three per cent on the £717.8m made in 2019. Gross profit decreased by 12 per cent from £66.2m in 2019 to £56m, but operating profit increased by £3.6m to £6.8m.


The company said it was ‘extremely pleased’ with the results ‘given the circumstances’.

During 2020, Motorline relocated its Audi dealership in Canterbury to a new ‘state-of-the-art’ facility, and the firm said the results included a full-year trading for its Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Audi dealerships, which were acquired in 2019.

The company added the results also included a full-year of trading for its Maidstone Lexus site, and its share of Toyota and Lexus had grown on the year before.

It countered this by saying that ‘any increase in turnover from these new sites is offset in part due to the lockdowns during the year but also due to our withdrawal from the Renault franchise as we replaced this with our investment in Audi over a similar period’.

Motorline reiterated the three per cent reduction in turnover was ‘predominantly’ due to the close of its Renault sites.

In December 2020, Motorline sold a property it had redeveloped in Crawley, West Sussex, for £9.4m, resulting in a profit of £3.7m.

Taking the sale into account in Motorline’s total £6.1m profit before tax, trading therefore totalled £2.4m for the year.

Motorline used £7.1m in government furlough cash last year, which ‘supported the company during this difficult time and enabled us to reopen quickly once the lockdown ended and bring our staff back into work as demand increased’, it said.

Since reopening on April 12, 2021, Motorline said it had seen strong demand and ‘orders exceeding’ its average every week.

It said: ‘Whilst we do have some concerns over vehicle stock availability for the balance of 2021, we are confident of achieving a strong result for 2021 that exceeds the 2020 performance.’

Motorline was founded in 1972 and has 55 dealerships and six TPS centres across Kent, West Sussex, Surrey, Berkshire, Bristol, South Wales and the west Midlands.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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