John Clark adds Jaguar to its stable of car brands

CAR dealer John Clark Motor Group has bought four outlets from listed rival Pendragon for an undisclosed sum in a deal that adds the Jaguar marque to its stable of luxury brands.

A Jaguar hood ornament sits on a Jaguar vehicle. Picture: Getty

The firm also said it has enjoyed a record first-quarter performance, with turnover reaching £108 million for the first three months of the year.

Despite the continued squeeze on consumer spending, car dealers are currently enjoying buoyant trading. The Scottish Motor Trade Association recently reported a 17.5 per cent increase in registrations of new vehicles for May, well ahead of the 11 per cent rise recorded for the UK as a whole.

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Along with two Jaguar dealerships in Edinburgh and Perth, Aberdeen-based John Clark has bought two Land Rover franchises in Cupar and Perth from Pendragon, adding 101 people to its headcount.

Chairman and managing director John Clark said all four sites are now trading under the firm’s Pentland banner and the deal takes its number of outlets to 21, covering 11 brands such as BMW, Nissan and Volkswagen.

He said: “Land Rover Pentland has been our only car dealership in the Scottish capital to date but this will change with the addition of the Jaguar dealership.

“The additions to our portfolio will further strengthen our place at the forefront of the Scottish automotive sector and serve as a platform for future growth.”

The deal follows a record year for the family-owned firm, which now employs more than 900 people, as net trading profits jumped 16 per cent to £5m. New car sales grew by a fifth to almost 8,500, helping turnover rise 15 per cent to £355m.

Clark said the current year looks set to continue this trend, adding: “The employees from the acquired dealerships and their loyal customers offer a solid base for us to build on.

“Land Rover and Jaguar have a fantastic range of products and there are more exciting developments in the pipeline. In order to enhance the customer and employee experiences we have funds immediately available to allow the refurbishment of the acquired premises.”

Jaguar Land Rover has been one of the stand-out performers in the motor industry, with pre-tax profits rising 11 per cent to almost £1.7 billion last year.

Revenues at the Coventry-based firm, owned by India’s Tata, grew 17 per cent to an all-time high of £15.8bn. During the year the company introduced new models including a revamped Range Rover and the Jaguar XF Sportbrake.

Pendragon is Britain’s largest car dealer, with about 240 dealerships under its Evans Halshaw and Stratstone brands, along with 14 used car sites and a small operation in California. It recently vowed to resume dividend payments for the first time since 2008 following a jump in annual profits and said last month that new vehicle sales had soared 16.7 per cent during the first quarter.