Top stories of the year: auto retail in 2019

  29 December 2019

Inchcape Telford

Auto retail PLCs dominated Auto Retail Agenda in 2019, with developments at Inchcape, Pendragon and Lookers all featuring amongst our top 10 most-read stories of the year.

Inchcape’s plans to sell off a fifth of its retailers, which we reported on in July, leads the rankings. Sources told us it was about “right-sizing” the business. Six months on, it appears the markets have responded positively: Inchcape’s stock is up 26% in 2019.

Lookers has performed less well in 2019, with July’s announcement of the FCA investigation into its financial sales processes weighing heavily on the group. November’s shock news that Andy Bruce and Nigel McMinn had left the retailer with immediate effect also grabbed the headlines on Auto Retail Agenda – as did the FCA’s plan to ban commission linked to the interest rate of motor finance loans.

Pendragon also surprised industry watchers with the departure of CEO Mark Herbert, just three months after taking over from Trevor Finn. Later in the year, Pendragon announced a £130m loss.

Other well-read stories reported on premium brands slumping in the latest NFDA survey, Darren Guiver quitting Group 1, Sytner selling four of its VW sites to Johnsons – and, rounding out the top 10, the news back in February that Mr Herbert was to take over from Mr Finn.

“I am delighted to be joining Pendragon as CEO at this time of rapid change and innovation in the consumer retail and automotive sectors,” he said at the time. Few would have predicted just how rapid the change would continue to be.

From all at Auto Retail Agenda, I wish you a happy and prosperous new year, and look forward to bringing more industry news and analysis to you throughout 2020.

Auto Retail Agenda – top 10 stories 2019

  1. Inchcape to sell off 20 of its dealerships
  2. Lookers faces FCA finance sales investigation
  3. Mark Herbert leaves Pendragon
  4. Lookers shock: Bruce and McMinn to step down
  5. FCA to ban commission linked to interest rate
  6. Pendragon slumps to £130m loss
  7. Premium brands hit in latest NFDA survey
  8. Darren Guiver quits Group 1
  9. Sytner sells 4 VW sites to Johnsons
  10. New Pendragon CEO appointed

Richard Aucock

Editor, Auto Retail Agenda

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