Vertu set to motor past market expectations

Robert Forrester, CEO of Vertu MotorsRobert Forrester, CEO of Vertu Motors
Robert Forrester, CEO of Vertu Motors
Automotive retailer Vertu Motors said it expects trading performance for the year ended February 29 to be ahead of current market expectations, anticipating record revenues and profits in the period.

In the five months ended January 31 Vertu saw a 7.2 per cent rise in like-for-like group revenues, while new retail vehicle volumes saw a like-for-like increase of 6.5 per cent.

The UK new car market achieved an all-time high level of vehicle registrations in the year ended 31 December 2015 with 2,633,503 new vehicles registered according to the SMMT.

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A positive consumer and business environment with record levels of employment in the UK has boosted the new car market.

The new car market has also benefited from a continued strong push into the UK from European vehicle manufacturers facing declining export market prospects and slow domestic market growth in continental Europe.

Vertu benefited from these buoyant conditions and grew private new retail sales volumes by 6.5 per cent during the period, ahead of the UK market growth of 3.6 per cent therefore growing the group’s market share.

Vertu has 15 dealerships in Yorkshire which include the Farnell Land Rover ​business which is ​​seen as the jewel in the company’s crown. ​

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The Farnell Jaguar Land Rover business is one of the group’s star performers and there are plans to move the Leeds dealership to much bigger premises in a £2m investment in the business.

There are also plans to make a big investment at the Nissan and Volvo sites in Sheffield.

Other top performers in the region included the Renault and Nissan dealerships in Bradford, Honda in Doncaster, Nissan in Halifax, Vauxhall in Keighley and SEAT in Barnsley.

One niche area where the group has seen success is its wheelchair access business in Batley.

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The operation now has a five per cent of the wheelchair market and has gone from being loss-making when Vertu bought the business in 2010 to making a profit.

The business converts vans into wheelchair access vehicles and is seeing such good growth that the group is moving to bigger premises in Batley.