Inchcape to sell off 20% of its dealerships
02 July 2019
Inchcape is understood to be working on a plan to dispose of up to a fifth of its UK dealerships as part of a strategy to “right size” the group and secure its future following a set of poor financial results earlier this year.
Sources close to Inchcape have claimed at least five of the firm’s Volkswagen dealerships will be sold to one rival auto group plus two Audi franchises to Motorline and one Audi (in Crawley) to Harwoods. Inchcape is also looking to dispose of at least three BMW Mini business and one Toyota Lexus operation.
The group has just over 100 franchises in the UK and the sell-off would take them closer to 80. Auto Retail Agenda understands staff within the dealerships that are going to be sold have been told of the changes.
Inchcape’s most recent results did not reveal full details of its UK operations performance but did paint a picture of poor performance across Europe. Retail sales declined nearly 4% in 2018 and trading profit declined more than 70% due to the impact of WLTP emissions regulations. The firm has also taken a £198 million “exceptional impairment” due to reduced margin expectations, according to the Inchcape’s latest results.
Inchcape refused to deny the news, and in a statement issued to Auto Retail Network said: “We are always assessing a range of opportunities and initiatives in support of our strategy.
“We are committed to informing our colleagues first whenever changes are proposed, and we do not comment on rumour or speculation in the market.”
However, a spokesman for the company added that it was “right sizing” the businesses.
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