WAYLANDS Automotive made almost £380,000 pre-tax profit during its first year of trading, it has announced.
The Volvo-focused company was established in 2017 by former Ridgeway Group chief executive John O’Hanlon after Ridgeway was bought by Marshall Motor Holdings for £106.9m. It began with a temporary site in Reading, since when it has grown to become a four-dealership enterprise spread across three counties in the Thames Valley.
Earlier this year, it opened its new £6m showroom in Reading, pictured above. Its other Volvo sites – in Newbury, Swindon and Oxford – will also benefit from the investment programme.
Waylands’ annual report and financial statements for the period ending December 31, 2018 show that it made pre-tax profit of £379,853 on £36.2m of revenue, with a return on sales of one per cent. After tax, the profit figure came to £293,127. It sold 513 new cars and 508 used. Aftersales gross profit, meanwhile, was recorded at £2.2m on £4.5m revenue.
The document shows it paid £352,153 plus £9,648 expenses for Lancaster Motor Company in Reading, just over £1m plus £10,014 expenses for Johnsons Cars in Swindon, just over £1.25m plus £6,000 expenses for Johnsons Cars in Oxford, and £2.1m plus £37,011 expenses for Fawcett’s Garage in Newbury.
Looking ahead, the statement said: ‘Following the UK’s 2016 referendum decision to exit the European Union, the UK economy continues to face a period of political and economic uncertainty. Whilst the group is not a direct importer of goods, the exit of the EU under a “no-deal” scenario would be expected to have a negative impact [on] the UK economy and consumer confidence levels.
‘The group works closely with its brand partner in preparations for such [a] scenario alongside maintaining its strong used stock control policies. In addition, the group continues to demonstrate a robust aftersales performance which is more resilient to external market changes than the vehicle sales market.’
It added: ‘The business has continued to perform well in 2019 and is trading ahead of budget. The group expects to benefit from a full period of increased scale to deliver further growth and profitability in the forthcoming year.’
O’Hanlon was one of the dealer panellists at this year’s CDX at Farnborough International, where he told the audience: ‘The joy of Volvo this year has been its absolute strength. We’re up 34 per cent year-on-year after a terrific 2018.
‘Part of my challenge is absolutely maximising every opportunity coming in. Yes, we’re working really hard on used, working really hard on aftersales, and also for Waylands it’s about trying to build our brand. The Waylands brand has only been going for 18 months, so it’s all about getting an online presence. We’re trying to build as much as we can through social and through digital.
‘Those are areas where we can get a big bang for our buck and are areas where we have put a lot of time and focus – letting customers know who we are and letting our local customers know where we are too.
‘Every brand goes up and down. Volvo is in a happy place. It’s got some fantastic product all arriving at the right time.’