MOTOR dealership Springfield Cars saw pre-tax profits jump by 76% year-on-year to £1.09m after selling off four of its franchises.
As well as seeing the profits rise above the £1m mark during the year to the end of December 31 – up from £622,842 – sales were also up to £74m from £66.3m at the Washington-based firm, which said the results included exceptional profit made on the sale of its four Honda franchises.
Vertu announced in November that it had paid £3.7m to Springfield Cars for three Honda dealerships in Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham, making the group the UK’s biggest Honda dealership.
Since the sale, Springfield Cars’ portfolio now consists of three Gateshead franchises, for Citroen, Suzuki and Fiat, a DFSK franchise and a bodyshop in Washington, a national fleet operation based in Gateshead and a Citroen and Fiat repair centre in Washington.
New car sales were up 6% on the previous year and used car sales were also up by 5%, despite not having its four Honda dealerships for the full year, and the company said it had continued to broaden its range of stock to meet demands.
Aftersales – services provided following vehicle’s initial sale – contributed to 55% of the company’s profit, despite challenging conditions.
The firm said its strategy will now see it focus on current manufacturer partners, with a view to developing more North East franchise opportunities.
The company said its freehold properties have also greatly contributed to the company’s value, adding in its report: “The company continues to hold significant freehold properties in prime locations, and their valuations have been reflected in the accounts.
“Two of the properties are now counted as investment properties following the sale.
“The cash inflow following the sale and from continuing profitable operations has resulted in a significantly strengthened balance sheet.”
Looking forward, the company said it plans to continue its relationships with current manufacturer partners in the North East, while also identifying expansion opportunities within the region.
The firm also said the son of the business’s owner and founder is also becoming more active in running the company to provide continuity and long term stability and growth.
The directors also used the report to officially thank all the staff for their hard work in 2012, adding: “We look forward to 2013 for a well controlled profitable year.”