Major UK car dealer Arnold Clark achieved record sales of £3.265 billion last year but warned this year will be more challenging.
The rise of 11.9% in turnover was delivered on the 60th anniversary of what is now Scotland’s biggest private company. Pre-tax profit was up 26% at £107.28 million.
Used car sales rose by 10.8% and the increase combined with strong residual values and low interest rates were the main drivers of the greater profitability.
New car sales grew by 3.1% in a strongly performing new car market.
Sir Arnold Clark, who chairs the company, said they anticipated 2015 to be a more challenging year with the new car market remaining relatively static and used cars showing modest growth.
He continued: “Notwithstanding the challenges ahead we look forward to another successful year for the group.
“It remains our stated policy to keep the group well-funded and able to react to any challenges or opportunities which present themselves.”
His company’s founding principles were to “deliver outstanding value for money across all goods and services supplied and to provide customers with the highest possible levels of customer satisfaction”.
The milestone year had seen a programme of meetings with all staff to ask for feedback on the further development and improvement of the business and to ensure it remained true to the founding principles.
Last year saw a range of acquisitions including a new BMW and Mini franchise in Inverness trading under the Harry Fairbairn brand, a Motorstore and Fiat branch in Leeds, a training facility at Ratho in Edinburgh and a dealership in Milton Keynes.
Arnold Clark bought the entire share capital of Ness Motors with operations in Inverness, Perth and Elgin adding 104 staff to the workforce now totalling 9,184.
The Inverness Mercedes branch had been redeveloped and a new Mini centre opened in Kirkcaldy which, with a refit of the BMW showroom, cemented the company’s position in the prestige car market in Fife.
New Fiat, Kia and Abarth showrooms were completed, and the continued expansion of the business had led to an 11-acre site being bought at Hillington near Glasgow Airport for a new head office, showrooms and workshop.