Peter Vardy on road to growth after used car sales fuel results

Peter Vardy is the chief executive of the eponymous Scottish motor group. Picture: Contributed
Peter Vardy is the chief executive of the eponymous Scottish motor group. Picture: Contributed
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Peter Vardy, the Glasgow-based car dealership group, has said it is “laying the foundations for growth” after strong used car sales helped kept finances motoring in 2018.

The firm, which holds franchises for BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche and Vauxhall as well as two Peter Vardy CarStores, in Glasgow and Dundee, posted a 4.4 per cent increase in used car sales for the year. Aftersales revenues also held strong, leading to a 4 per cent rise in overall group turnover to £468 million.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) for 2018 came in at £10.75m, which the group described as “robust”.

Despite difficult market conditions, with well publicised challenges for the UK new car sector, gross profit margins remained in line with the previous year at 12.7 per cent.

The group continued to operate above its objective of £500,000 of retained profit per outlet, leading to a modest increase to £5.8m in annual retained profit after tax.

Chief executive Peter Vardy said the results illustrated the company’s resilience against the tough trading backdrop. This allowed the business to continue its programme of investment with the opening of its second Porsche showroom, in Perth, giving it exclusive coverage in the north of Scotland.

“Our focus heading into 2018 was on two areas – driving used vehicle performance and maximising aftersales opportunities – and I am pleased to report positive results on both fronts,” Vardy said.

“We are continuing to pursue our six-point strategy for growth, and are actively seeking expansion in both the physical and digital markets. The fact that we were working on our 2030 vision and strategy plans back in 2018 gives you an idea of the scope of our ambitions.”

Set up as a single dealership in Perth, in 2006, Peter Vardy Group has grown to 14 dealerships across Scotland employing more than 800 people.

The firm said it was aiming to “take the lead in digital innovation and transformation”, with high levels of investment in e-commerce sales and aftersales products. It intends to sell half of its vehicles online by 2023, with a target of 60 per cent of all service bookings coming through online channels in the same year.

“We are manoeuvring to be at the forefront of the rapidly-changing environment within the motor trade,” Vard added. “We have continued to build on 2018’s success during the current financial year, putting us in a strong position to achieve our objectives.”

The company’s partnership share scheme welcomed 200 new colleagues during 2018. Employee engagement peaked with 92.5 per cent of staff providing formal feedback on their experience of working for the business.