Sytner sails through Covid storm to post dramatically increased pre-tax profits of £100m

  • American-owned dealer group increased its profits in 2020 despite lockdowns
  • Turnover as well as new and used car sales dropped, but earnings rose
  • Boss Darren Edwards thanks staff for their huge efforts during the year

Time 4 weeks ago

Dealer group Sytner has posted profit before tax of £100m for 2020 – a year ravaged by lockdowns and the pandemic.

Despite its showrooms being shut for large parts of the year, the American-owned dealer group increased profit dramatically on 2019 when it made pre tax profits of £71.8m.

The company said that by managing to continue to trade online and handing over vehicles via click and collect, as well as aftersales departments continuing to operate, it weathered the storm.

Turnover for the business, part of the Penske Automotive Group, dropped nearly 17 per cent – down from £5.9n in 2019 to £4.9bn in 2020.

Darren Edwards, CEO, told Car Dealer: ‘I would say that the results are reflective of the dedication and commitment of every hard working Sytner Group colleague including the team at Agnews and Car Shop who, working together as one team, made sure we delivered on our group aim to delight our key stakeholders. 

‘2020 was an incredibly challenging year for everyone and I can’t thank the team enough for their efforts. 

‘The innovation that took place during the year has made the company even stronger and we are benefiting from this as we approach the final quarter of 2021. 

‘We are also proud of our significant contribution towards Penske Automotive Group’s record results this year.’

Sytner Limited, a subsidiary of Sytner Group, said in its report that it sold 21.6 per cent fewer new cars in 2020 compared to the year before, down to 16,542, while used car sales also fell 13.6 per cent, down to 21,634 units. Total new and used car sales for the overall group are not published.

An interim dividend of £50m was paid in 2020.

In the annual report, posted along with the accounts at Companies House, the firm added: ‘The company’s focus for the future is to organically grow the business, along with its franchise partners, and to progress acquisitions where opportunities arise.’

During the year, Sytner disposed of its remaining VW dealerships – it made a £1.4m loss on the disposals.

It also closed a number of businesses including a BMW and Mini dealership in Haverfordwest and a Land Rover dealership in Stratford. Closure costs and the value of the assets cost the company around £4m.

Last year, Sytner was the second most profitable franchised dealer group in the Car Dealer Top 100, behind Arnold Clark. The new list will be published soon.

Earlier this week, Arnold Clark posted a £156.5m pre tax profit for 2020.

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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