To date, £12.5 million has been ploughed into Autobytel UK, but the firm insists that brand recognition remains 'exceptionally strong'. Profits at MCL Group, the Mazda and Kia distributor, fell by £1.7 million, with Mazda sales down from 26,000 to 22,000 last year. The company purchased 49% of refurbishment and logistics firm Eurofleet last year, although its current logistics operation, Seaking, lost £4 million last year, but Kia sales nearly doubled from 6,400 in 1999 to 11,500.
Retail profits fell by £300,000 to £8.8 million, although this included a £700,000 cost associated with restructuring Rover dealerships. Worldwide, the firm's turnover grew from £2.8 billion to £3 billion, but pre-tax profits fell from £299.3 million to £73.4 million.