Auto Retail Agenda: 24 February 2020

  23 February 2020






Stoneacre profit up 25%

Stoneacre Motor Group has reported pre-tax profit of £17 million for the year ended 30 April 2019, compared to £13.6m in 2018. Turnover grew significantly, from £786m to £982m. This included a £75m contribution (and £442k profit) from Mill Garages North East, which Stoneacre acquired in September 2018.

New car sales grew 9.8%, used car volumes were up 14.5% and fleet/commercial was up 24%. Service revenues increased 15.5% and department profitability rose 9.7%; Stoneacre has 37,600 live service plans, benefitting the performance of the service department.

The Stoneacre Digital online footprint is described as an increasingly important driver of customers to retail outlets. High-quality web sessions were up 23% and social media contact grew 675%.

Acquisitions during the year mean the Group now has 100 franchises at 52 locations and represents 24 OEMs. The directors predict “further consolidation with the franchised dealer network as manufacturers choose to work with those partners who best represent the brand”. Stoneacre is well positioned to benefit from this due to “excellent relationships” with its partner OEMs.




JCT600 appoints new MD

Richard Hargraves has been appointed managing director of Yorkshire-based JCT600. Hargraves first joined JCT600 in 1994 as a used car buyer. In 2006, after five years as dealer principal at Prestons BMW (now Bowker BMW), he was appointed JCT600 brand director for Porsche, adding Bentley, BMW/Mini and Lotus to his role, before becoming group operations director in January 2012.

Hargraves’ promotion sees the MD role return to JCT600’s leadership team. The role was shelved in 2004 with the retirement of former MD Harry Taylor. Instead of seeking a replacement, CEO John Tordoff took on Mr Taylor’s responsibilities and, in 2006, established an operations board with a team of brand directors.


Facebook Marketplace phishing warning

Experts are warning auto retailers of a phishing scam via Facebook Marketplace. Social media strategist Natalie Eminae says scammers pose as customers, messaging retailers that they’d like to part-exchange a vehicle alongside cash. They include a real vehicle reference number and a link to their part-ex vehicle. This takes dealers to a scam site disguised as a Facebook Marketplace link.

Retailers are prompted to login: “If your details are submitted to the fake site, your Facebook would be hacked,” says Ms Eminae. “This could compromise your account, your business account, and even your ads account.” She advises retailers are particularly careful with Facebook messages received after hours on mobile devices, as “it’s not always easy to spot these types of scams”.


Retailer salaries up in 2019

Advertised salaries in auto retail job adverts increased 11.1% in 2019, reports recruitment company InAutomotive – from £35,458 to £39,406. The most common age to be browsing for retailer jobs is 45-54, with a 28% share; people aged 25-34 took a 22.8% share of job ad browsing. The auto retail gender split, reports the annual Job Seekers Report, is 40% female – better than the automotive industry average of 28.5% female.


Wayne Edwards joins Marshall Truck and Van

Wayne Edwards is the new head of business at Marshall Motor Group’s Mercedes Truck and Van operations, which has five locations in the south. He will be based at Marshall’s Fareham HQ. Mr Edwards joins from Lichfield’s DP Allparts Group, where he was dealer principal for Renault Trucks.




China’s coronavirus car sales plunge

Chinese car sales fell 92% in the first half of February due to the impact of coronavirus. Retailers remained closed, which saw sales slump to an average of 811 vehicles a day. China is the world’s largest new car market, with registrations of 21 million vehicles in 2019. Car brand Geely has responded with ‘contactless’ car sales offering online ordering and home delivery.




Closing prices on 21 February 2020 and weekly change

Auto Trader Group 569.8p (-19.2p)

Cambria 70.0p (n/c)

Caffyns 400.0p (n/c)

Halfords 157.4p (-5.6p)

Inchcape 632.5p (-12.5p)

Lookers 51.3p (-1.8p)

Marshall Motor Holdings 157.0p (n/c)

Motorpoint 311.0p (+11.0p)

Pendragon 12.78p (+0.08p)

Vertu 36.1p (+0.1p)




Hyundai i20, all-new model debut at Geneva Motor Show, offers comprehensive connectivity and best-in-class advanced safety, debuts new Hyundai ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ design language

Honda Civic Type R, facelifted model includes subtler-looking Sport Line and extreme Limited Edition (which deletes air con, infotainment)

Cupra Leon, first hot Leon to be branded Cupra rather than Seat, offers 245hp, 300hp and 310hp power plus a 245hp plug-in with a 37-mile range, comes as five-door or estate, ordering open now



Thursday, Inchcape full year results

Thursday, Aston Martin Lagonda full year results

Friday, GFK consumer confidence

20 March, Auto Retail Live Profit Briefing: optimising opportunities in a turbulent climate

2 April, The Future of F&I in Auto Retail




Business rate changes needed ‘quickly’

The Government is expected to announce a review of business rates in the Budget on 11 March, on whether to base them on land values rather than rental values. However, Ed Cooke of retail property lobby group Revo has stressed changes need to happen quickly. “Exploring a land value tax will just delay things further.” Business rates are the sixth biggest contributor to the Treasury, bringing in £30bn a year.


Financial services change at Daimler Mobility

Daimler Mobility is combining the operational units of its finance and leasing operations with responsibility for digital processes and systems in all regions. The new executive division will be called ‘operations and digital solutions’, headed by Jorg Lampartner. The consolidation will “accelerate the digital transformation of Daimler Mobility” and “simplify the interaction with financing and leasing customers via digital services”.


BLOG: What are we worrying about?


Start your free 14 day trial

Get free access to our Bulletin, Agenda & Profit for 14 days.

After 14 days we will auto bill your credit or debit card unless the order is cancelled.

As an auto retail executive you need insightful and unique industry intelligence to boost your business potential. Here’s a taste of what Auto Retail Network has to offer:

  • Get informed and boost your business potential
  • More than 1,200 fellow executives have joined us
    since launch
  • Independent, carefully crafted, unique content relevant to you and your business
  • Develop a greater awareness of market trends and opportunities
  • Access to a wide range of materials whenever, wherever and however you want it
  • Significant discounts on ARN events, reports and
    other publications