Fleet News

Evans Halshaw predicts tough time ahead on the forecourts

DEALER group Evans Halshaw is predicting tough trading on the forecourts for the rest of the year after unveiling half-year pre-tax profits of £8.1 million, just £12,000 more than the same period last year. In the six months to June 30, turnover dropped 9% to £410 million from 1997's £449 million, but business was helped by buoyant new car sales, increasing 14% from 10,800 to 12,300.

The good news was marred, however, by the continuing depression hitting used car values. Finance director Charles Cameron said: 'Overall, the UK new car market grew by 7.8% in the first six months of the year, fuelled by the vehicle manufacturers who offered customers very attractive new car deals. This had the effect of switching demand from the 'nearly new' used car sector. The used car market had a difficult second quarter with supply, particularly of nearly-new cars, exceeding demand, resulting in a significant fall in values.'

The company is now bracing itself for sales confusion in January, when fleets which traditionally take on cars for the new year hold off until the new registration change in March. Cameron said turnover was also down because of a number of disposals, including 30 dealerships, and Fleet Cost Management sold to Cendant last year.

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