Car Dealer Live

Peoples Ford posts strongest financial performance in its 38-year history

  • Accounts show profits soared from just over £3m to £7.98m
  • Company turnover shot up to £289.5m
  • Strongest financial performance in firm’s 38-year history
  • Chairman expects new car shortage to last well into 2022

Time 1 month ago

Dealer group Peoples Ford has turned in its strongest financial performance ever, accounts show.

Profit before tax soared to £7.98m in the year ended August 31, 2021, accounts filed with Companies House reveal – up a whopping 165 per cent on the year before.

Twelve months ago, the business, which is Europe’s largest independent Ford dealer and has six showrooms in the UK, reported pre-tax profit had slumped to just over £3m, down from the £4.6m it made the year before.

Turnover for the period ended August 31 this year totalled £289.5m – up by almost 20 per cent on the previous year.

It’s the strongest financial performance the business has recorded in its 38-year history.

Speaking to Car Dealer Live (in the video which you can watch at the top of this post), chairman Brian Gilda said the real highlight for him was to turn in the company’s biggest profit in a very challenging year, but there were other high points for him.

‘The real story is that we set ourselves up to come out of lockdown to be in the best position to take advantage,’ he said. ‘Our mental capacity [during lockdown] was good, and our aftersales activity was looking after the blue-light services. So we didn’t have fill it [the business] with oil, crank it up and give it a good kick, we were ready to go.

‘When the spike came we had the right stock and motivated people – bang and off we went.’

Peoples took £880,000 in government furlough cash, and Gilda described the furlough scheme as an ‘exceptionally clever piece of financial engineering’ by the government.

‘I’ve been through a number of world financial crises but I never thought I’d see something like this [Covid],’ he said.

‘The one thing we did recognise before we went into the financial year was we had to look after our staff better than we normally would do. This was a pandemic, not a financial crisis, and people were worried about themselves. And I think we passed the test we set ourselves.’

Gilda revealed that it had made one redundancy during the past 12 months, and all staff with the exception of directors were awarded a £400 bonus.

He did caution the rest of the year would be ‘challenging’ and that new car shortages would ‘hopefully’ be over by the end of Q1 2022.

Also in the interview Gilda discussed:

  • A squeeze on margins
  • Challenges of acquiring used car stock
  • Selling cars online during lockdown
  • The rise of online used car retailers such as Cazoo

Click the video at the top of the post to watch the full interview

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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