Fleet News

Ryland enjoys premium sales surge

A 37% increase in sales of premium cars helped Ryland Group achieve pre-tax profits of £1.1 million last year, reversing a £5.9 million loss in 2000, on turnover up to £467 million (2000: £400,169).

The dealer group holds franchises for Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, and Volvo, and saw its new car sales from these outlets rise by 37% and its used car sales move ahead by 12%.

In the volume sector Ryland saw an increase in new car sales of 28%, and a rise in used car sales of 10%, reporting a strong performance from its Honda businesses, Fiat and Alfa Romeo, while its two Volkswagen businesses increased their new car sales by 77% and used car sales by 20%.

Last year the group concluded the sale of its Ford and renault businesses, and has sold its Vauxhall businesses earlier this year.

Peter Whale, chairman of Ryland, said: 'The reorientation of our franchise portfolio towards the premium brand sector of the market has proceeded well ahead of initial expectations. Underlying profitability from core operations has staged a welcome improvement from the singular difficulties experienced during 2000.

'Consumer confidence remains relatively buoyant, with low interest rates and low prices reflected in continuing strong car sales.'

He added that the block exemption renewal 'would appear to present us with more opportunities than threats,' and confirmed that Ryland would acquire two additional Mercedes-Benz dealerships this summer to complement the Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne dealerships it bought at the turn of the year.

Overall, Ryland reported operating profits from continuing activities up 65% to £7.5 million (2000: £4.5 million), while underlying profits before goodwill, exceptional items and tax stood at £3.7 million compared to a loss of £4.8 million in 2000.

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