Auto Retail Agenda: 27 July 2020

  25 July 2020

Auto Retail Agenda


Perrys in profit, fined by HSE

Perrys Group has reported a £3.1m operating profit for 2019, down from the £3.7m it made in 2018. New and used car sales performed well (new car profit grew £676k on a like-for-like basis, and used car profit grew £559k), but a new approach in aftersales led to a £1.1m decline in profits. However, Perrys says aftersales profitability improved by the end of the year and 2020 results are “encouraging”.

The results to 31 December 2019 also listed a £400k provision for an existing Health and Safety Executive protocol breach. Perrys was actually last week fined £140,000 and ordered to pay over £7,600 in costs after a smart repairer at its Doncaster site was diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). The repairer regularly used handheld power tools for vehicle body repairs.

Perrys’ HAVS surveillance partner, S & Ash Ltd, was also fined £4,000 and almost £9,000 in costs by failing to provide Perrys with suitable and accurate advice, or informing the employee of their health surveillance results.

“The motor vehicle repair trade must understand the importance of suitable risk assessments and having a robust occupational health and safety management system,” said HSE inspector Heather Cunnington. “Employers should ensure that the results of health surveillance are acted upon.”

Speaking to Auto Retail Agenda, Perrys commercial director Ken Savage said the situation had been complex but ultimately it remained Perrys’ responsibility. He advised fellow retailers to ensure they have good health and safety processes in place.



Boohoo buys Marshall Vauxhall Leicester site

Online fashion retailer Boohoo is understood to have bought the former Marshall Vauxhall retailer site on Leicester’s outer ring road. The two-acre site (with a 27,000 sq ft building), which was opened in 1992, was sold a few weeks ago for around £3m. Agents Andrew and Ashwell confirmed the site had potential for alternative uses; Boohoo is believed to be planning conversion of the site into an automated factory.


70-plate advance registration to open

The registration number series changes from ’20’ to ’70’ on 1 September. The DVLA has confirmed retailer pools will automatically be topped up from 1 August in readiness. This will give retailers their full allocation of 70 numbers and half the allocation of 20 numbers. Advance registration for 70 series numbers opens on 18 August.


Auto Trader using Looker tech

Auto Trader has implemented the Looker analytics platform. Part of Google Cloud, Looker data analytics will allow the Auto Trader sales team to better analyse advertisement KPIs, such as search appearances, views, quality and leads. This will facilitate better conversations and greater value to retailers, it says. Looker is also used by Amazon, Sony and IBM.


Conferences return in October

Business events and conferences will be able to reopen from 1 October provided levels of infection remain under control. Organisers will have to commit to social distancing, with measures including pre-booking, contactless registration, no lanyards or badges and one-way systems in operation. Paper handouts and gifts must not be offered.




Ford job loss buyback program

Ford has launched an initiative in the US where it will buy the car back entirely if the buyer loses their job within a year. The Ford Promise Initiative buys the car back for the average trade-in value and the rest of the debit is considered paid. All Ford Credit customers are eligible for it and the scheme runs until the end of September.


AutoNation plans used-only stores

AutoNation will spend at least $200m to build 20 or more used-only AutoNation USA stores in the next three years. Five pilot stores have already been built, which CEO Mike Jackson described as “solidly profitable”. Mr Jackson also described last week’s departure of former CEO Cheryl Miller as “completely unexpected. She was doing a terrific job and I miss her very much”.




Closing prices on 24 July 2020 and weekly change

Pendragon falls 10%

Auto Trader Group 527.4p 536.0p (-8.6p / -1.6%)

Cambria 45.9p 47.2p (-1.3p / -2.7%)

Caffyns 260.0p (n/c)

Halfords 148.8p 156.4p (-7.6p / -4.9%)

Inchcape 481.8p 458.2p (+23.6p / +5.0%)

Lookers Shares suspended at 21.0p

Marshall Motor Holdings 125.0p 122.5p (+2.5p / +2.0%)

Motorpoint 240.0p 245.0p (-5.0p / -2.0%)

Pendragon 8.0p 8.9p (-0.9p / -10.0%)

Vertu 22.2p 22.7p (-0.5p / -2.2%)




Wednesday, consumer credit figures

Wednesday, Aston Martin interims

Thursday, Inchcape interims



eBay classifieds in $9.2bn merger

eBay’s classifieds business, including and Gumtree, has merged with Norway’s Adevinta to create the world’s largest online classified advertising business. Adevinta is paying $9.2bn in cash and stocks; eBay receives $2.5bn in cash and gets 44% equity in Adevinta. The sale follows pressure from investors for eBay to concentrate on its main marketplace.


Alternative fuel profit opportunity for workshops

“Enormous opportunities” exist for auto retailers with the accelerated rollout of alternative powertrain technologies. Workshop activities will change but electrification “should in no way be seen as a threat to their business,” said Mahle Aftermarket’s Olaf Henning.  Diversification of powertrains will require workshops to “dramatically increase” the number of spares they carry, and modular components will demand more tools, service units, training and education.

Next-generation air filter systems (both for car cabins and alternative drive systems) and hygenic cleaning of interiors will be another profit opportunity.


BLOG: Why used car retailers should forget CO2 and buy SUVs instead of PHEVs



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