Pendragon profits gather speed

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DEMAND for British car brands Jaguar and Land Rover gave a boost to car dealership Pendragon today as it reported a 14 per cent rise in annual profits.

The haul of £38.9m follows a good year for the UK car industry, with Europe’s second largest market growing by 11 per cent to 2.26 million registrations.

Pendragon’s upmarket brand Stratstone boosted operating profits by £1m to £26.9m in the year, helped by particularly strong sales for BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.

The division, which features 84 franchises, increased new registrations by 14 per cent, compared with 11 per cent for the brands that it represents.

Evans Halshaw, which is the UK’s leading volume motor car retailer with 132 franchise points, increased new car volumes by 20 per cent in the period, driven by its Ford, Vauxhall, Renault, Peugeot and Hyundai franchises.

The division’s operating profits rose by £400,000 to £27.4 million as it focused on expansion opportunities in the year.

Nottingham-based Pendragon added that its online performance topped expectations, with growth of 22 per cent and over 13 million website visits.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has predicted car sales will grow 1.2 per cent this year, which equates to sales volumes of 2.29 million.

Chief executive Trevor Finn said: “We are confident that 2014 will be another year of good performance.”