JCT600 boosts sales amid tough climate

Automotive giant JCT600 reported a record turnover of £1.277bn against a backdrop of a challenging period for the motor trade.

JCT600, one of Yorkshire’s largest privately owned businesses, boosted its turnover from last year’s £1.251bn and saw a slight uplift in operating profit before exceptional items, rising from £23.1m in 2017 to £23.2m for the year ending 31 December 2018.

Recognising that new car sales in 2018 would continue to be a challenge due to economic uncertainty caused by Brexit, together with supply problems resulting from the WLTP regulations, the Bradford-based car retailer again focussed on its used car sales operation and aftersales services, as well as keeping a tight control on costs.

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While there was a UK market reduction of 2.1 per cent on used vehicle sales, JCT600 increased this key part of its business by 9 per cent and it also grew revenues from aftersales by 3.9 per cent.

This strategy helped to offset an 8.4 per cent fall in new car sales on a like for like basis.

John Tordoff, chief executive of JCT600, said: “As a long-established Yorkshire-based business with a reputation for leading the way in the automotive sector, we are proving able to continue to outperform the market.

“While keeping customers firmly at the core of everything we do, we are nimble enough to be able to adapt to changing conditions while continuing to invest for the future.”

During the year, JCT600 continued its commitment to improving the customer experience by upgrading its showrooms, investing a total of £9m including major refurbishments at Porsche Sheffield and Porsche Newcastle as well as creating a new call centre in Chesterfield.

In addition, the group acquired the two Jaguar and Land Rover dealerships in Doncaster last July, and in September announced that it would be representing Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Leeds.

The group also increased investment in its digital platform by 14 per cent in 2018, with the number of visitors to the website rising by 20 per cent and smart phone traffic growing by 33 per cent.

The total number of web leads generated increased by 15 per cent, and followers of JCT600’s four main social media channels rose by 51 per cent.

Nigel Shaw, group finance director at JCT600, adds: “It has been a challenging year for the new car market with supply issues caused by the introduction of the WLTP emissions regime resulting in restrictions in many brands.

“However, we have been able to focus on developing other areas of our operations, such as used car sales and aftersales services, as well as keeping a close eye on costs in order to grow our revenue.

“It’s also encouraging that despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty, customer confidence and economic performance remain relatively strong, boosted by low unemployment and interest rates.”