Stockton-based RMB Automotive in fast lane with 11% profit growth

Expansion plans carried out by RMB Automotive have driven profits up by 11% in a year at the Teesside car dealer

Stockton-based RMB Automotive group last year announced it was forging ahead with plans to expand the group, despite seeing a slowdown in sales, and over the course of the last financial year it pushed forward with work on two new showrooms at Northallerton, one to house a new Ford dealership which opened in April.

Over the course of 2012, the firm, which has been trading for nine years, also secured planning permission for an additional showroom at the Darlington operation, yet it has now revealed it has no plans to develop the site.

The company said, however: “There are no firm plans at this time to develop the site, but should a suitable franchise opportunity present itself, then development could take place quickly.”

Latest accounts filed at Companies House show turnover for the year ended December 2012, increased to �40.3m, a rise of 7.3% on the previous 12 months, while pre-tax profits also rose to £324,000 from the £291,656 noted the year before.

The Stockton-based group, which runs Toyota dealerships in Stockton, Northallerton and Darlington and sells Lexus models from Stockton, said it had performed well in difficult circumstances and now expects its new Ford dealership to perform well.

The company, which also runs a bodyshop near Yarm, and the group used car centre, Autoparc, reported a decline in gross margins to 13.6% from 14.9% in 2011, but said the figure is still in line with industry norms.

Sales of new vehicles rose by 24.5% to 14,609 in 2012, compared to 11,727 in the previous period – more than double the most recent increase in new car registrations noted by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which showed an 8% year on year rise in new car sales during July.

Used vehicle sales remained largely static at 18,810 from 18,113.

Overall headcount was lowered to 138 from 149, with small reductions in employees in administration, aftersales and management, but the workforce was increased by two in sales and distribution.

The directors added: “2012 was a difficult year for RMB Automotive with the retail car market remaining challenging.

“However, the fourth quarter of the year was showing some improvement and the first quarter of 2013 is starting to look good with the car market growing by 5% over the previous year.

“Also encouraging is the performance at Autoparc which should be profitable in 2013.

“The new Ford operation, the first of its kind for RMB, should perform well quickly due to there being another Ford operator in the territory until very recently.

“As well as an increase in overall car sales from Northallerton, there should also be a substantial growth in aftersales business with only modest increases in general overheads.”

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