Ford Retail has blamed the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns for it recording a £5.2m loss last year.
However, the company has told Car Dealer it expects 2021 to be its ‘best-ever year’ with turnover exceeding £2bn.
In results filed to Companies House, the Ford-owned retailer group, which trades as TrustFord, posted a loss of £5.2m in the year to December 2020.
The loss is in sharp contrast to the £5.6m profit it made the year before.
The dealer group, which is the largest Ford retailer in the world, turned over £1.4bn in the period ending December 2020.
In 2019, Ford Retail finished the year with a turnover of £1.7bn.
The company said vehicle sales were down 18 per cent ‘due to the national lockdown’, while its parts business revenue was also affected and was down by 19 per cent.
Lockdowns also took effect on workshop sales and were down by 25 per cent.
Gross margins were down by £26m, again impacted by ‘the Covid-19 related lockdown’, but were ‘offset by reductions in expenses by £17m as a result of cost control measures during the lockdown periods’.
I am predicting 2021 to be our best ever year with forecasted turnover to top £2bn
Ford Retail said: ‘As a result of the dealership closures from March to May 2020 and November to December in response to the Covid-19 outbreaks, the company carried out planning and forecasting and secured a £550m credit facility to October 2021 in addition to the existing £150m to weather the impact of Covid-19 restrictions. The company has successfully operated without the use of the additional facility.
‘There is sufficient liquidity to fund the operations for at least the next 12 months.’
Despite turning a loss, chairman and chief executive Stuart Foulds is upbeat about the business’ performance and has high hopes for a profitable 2021.
He told Car Dealer: ‘Unsurprisingly, like all of the industry, we experienced a reduction in volume of sales, labour and parts due to the pandemic.
‘That said I was delighted with our performance given the challenges of lockdown.
‘Our TrustFordNOW initiative really came into its own with us being able to offer customers a one stop online sales process which worked wonderfully well for us.
‘Fleet performed extremely well throughout that period and CV sales were absolutely on fire as delivery companies were inundated with online orders.
Foulds added: ‘As we return to some form of normality, business has been exceptional for TrustFord and I am predicting 2021 to be our best ever year with forecasted turnover to top £2bn.’