Fleet News

Year of turmoil hits Ryland group profits

A 'unique cocktail' of events in the UK motor trade conspired against dealership operation Ryland Group, which has reported a £5.94 million pre-tax loss for the 12 months to December 31, 2000, after recording a £12.63 million pre-tax profit in 1999. However, Ryland chairman Peter Whale remains upbeat as he continues to dispose of under-performing businesses and focus more on the luxury car market.

Turnover last year increased to £694.2 million (1999: £673.7 million) despite Whale calling 2000 'the most difficult 12 months the industry has seen for many years' as a consequence of the car pricing saga. 'Car dealers were victims of the crossfire, suffering from protracted uncertainty over new car pricing and falling used car vehicle values,' said Whale, who revealed Ryland had absorbed £500,000 losses last year on Motability vehicles and had taken a £900,000 exceptional operating profit charge to cover all expected future losses.

The company's avowed move away from the low margin high volume new car sector has seen Ryland sell its largest Ford market area for south Warwickshire and it expects to pull out of Vauxhall, Nissan and Renault operations this year. Ryland also admitted it lost £1 million in operating profits as BMW's decision to sell Rover Group last year hit sales of the German marque in the West Midlands, where it has three dealers.

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