Auto Retail Agenda: 3 August 2020

  01 August 2020

Auto Retail Agenda


Stoneacre targets Hodgson

Auto Retail Agenda understands Hodgson Newcastle is a takeover target for Stoneacre. Hodgson has two sites in the North East, representing Mazda, Toyota and Suzuki. Last year’s turnover of £76.8m delivered a 15% reduction in operating profit from £1.2m to £1.0m.

In July, Hodgson extended its accounting period from 31 December 2019 to 30 June 2020. Its 2018 accounts were belatedly filed in February 2020 after the business received a compulsory strike-off warning.

Both businesses were contacted for comment by Auto Retail Agenda.

In other news, Budgen Motors has taken over sole trader Telford Peugeot, in line with its strategy of acquiring “good value” businesses within its geographic area. Previous acquisition of two Renault/Dacia sites had already grown Budgen’s turnover 12% to £44.4m in the year ended June 2019, with profit before tax rising 22% to £578k.



Dick Lovett profit up

Turnover at Dick Lovett topped £600m for the first time in 2019. Pre-tax profit grew from £6.9m to £8.2m: profit improved in all brands apart from Ferrari and Maserati. Long-term loans were also significantly reduced. Covid-19 will have a significant near-term impact on the business but the directors are still confident of long-term growth, despite the likelihood of reduced profitability in 2020.


Hepworth closes Mitsubishi showroom

Hepworth Motor Group has closed its Mitsubishi dealership in Halifax with the loss of an expected 10 staff. Hepworth, which also operates the Honda in Huddersfield and Ssangyong in Horsforth, will continue to offer a full Mitsubishi aftersales operation from Huddersfield.

Stephen Brighton, Hepworth managing director, said the move was “not connected to the Mitsubishi announcement” that it was withdrawing from the UK and European market.


Motorline plans new £12m Bristol facility

Motorline will relocate its Toyota and Lexus retailers to a new £12m facility on Cribbs Causeway in 2021. It has received planning permission for the three-acre greenfield site, which will feature dedicated Toyota and Lexus centres and a Motorline Academy training facility. Constructions starts in October and will be complete by June 2021.





Penske income plunges

Penske Automotive Group has reported a 62% fall in Q2 net income. CEO Roger Penske called the operating environment “one of the most challenging in memory”. The company has reduced its workforce by 8% (around 2,000 jobs), but also reported a strong improvement in June performance, both in the US and overseas.


Cox cuts jobs

Cox Automotive has cut 1,600 jobs in North America. The jobs were corporate and field roles, mainly in the Manheim division. Cox had already eliminated 275 jobs in June. The company has forecast a 25% decline in revenue this year and is currently realigning around a new digital-focused strategy called The Way Forward.




Closing prices on 31 July 2020 and weekly change

Inchcape down 11.5%

Auto Trader Group 536.6p (+9.2p / +1.7%)

Cambria 45.9p (n/c)

Caffyns 250.0p (-10.0p / -3.9%)

Halfords 146.0p (-2.8p / -1.8%)

Inchcape 429.2p (-52.6p / -11.5%)

Lookers Shares suspended at 21.0p

Marshall Motor Holdings 125.0p (n/c)

Motorpoint 248.0p (+8.0p / +3.2%)

Pendragon 8.32p (+0.32p / +3.9%)

Vertu 22.35p (+0.15p / +0.6%)




Monday, Scotland Bank HolidayWednesday, July new car registrations

Thursday, Auto Retail Live, Q3 Briefing with Robin Luscombe, Mike Jones and Auto Trader’s Sue Fish. Sign up

Thursday, Bank of England interest rate decision



Mercedes-Benz Financial Services CLBILS-approved

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services has been approved by the British Business Bank to provide Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) facilities to franchised Mercedes-Benz retailers. It is understood to be the first financial arm of an OEM to be approved and MHA Financial Solutions’ Greg Taylor says it will be interesting to see if any other manufacturers follow suit.


BLOG: Rightsizing is painful but right



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