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Dealership John Clark’s investment plans for Dundee

John Clark's BMW and Mini dealerships at Rutherford Road, Dundee.
John Clark's BMW and Mini dealerships at Rutherford Road, Dundee.

John Clark Motor Group is speeding ahead with investments in Dundee.

The Aberdeen-headquartered group said it remained profitable despite the pandemic and was pushing ahead with major investment plans.

The company will soon complete the relocation of its BMW and BMW Motorrad motorcycle business in Dundee.

Its Mini and Volvo operations in Dundee will also see “significant” investment and expansion.

Further investment is then planned with the redevelopment of Land Rover at Newbridge, in Edinburgh. A new site for Volvo Edinburgh, also in Newbridge, is also in the pipeline.

Chairman John Clark said: “We continue to progress our 2021 and 2022 facilities investment plans, as well as seek to support our colleagues and customers as we navigate through the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“From a financial perspective, we have a strong balance sheet and remain profitable, so we are in a robust and highly liquid position.

“We plan to use this and maintain our industry-leading position by continuing to seize and build upon the right acquisition and investment opportunities.”

Mr Clark was speaking after accounts lodged at Companies House by the family-owned and run firm showed pre-tax profits slid to £2.6 million during 2019, from nearly £3.3m the year before.

Turnover fell slightly to £820.8m in the latest period, from £823.6m in 2018, which JCMG said reflected a “continued background of marketplace challenges caused by economic and political uncertainty”.

But the company highlighted a rise in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation to £12.75m in 2019, from £12.6m previously, while headcount averaged 1,384 in the latest period – up from 1,396 the year before.

Relecting on the impact of Covid-19 on the business during 2020, group managing director Chris Clark, the chairman’s son, added: “During lockdown the group placed 90% of staff on the UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which JCMG supplemented for the first three months to help support their colleagues with financial commitments.

“Financially, performance fluctuated in line with the government’s restrictive guidelines, resulting in high losses during April and May.

“But subsequent months were strong across both vehicle sales and aftersales operations, with a growth rate significantly ahead of the UK market averages.

“The cumulative result saw September 2020 profits ahead of 2019 and the current year-end projection is far stronger than expected.”

Mr Clark Jr added: The group also made substantial inroads in the development of its online sales platform, with a significant proportion of the 2020 vehicle sales volume being driven down this channel due to government enforced site closures.

“This is an area that will see continued investment during 2021, with a strong belief that it will account for a growing contribution going forward.” The company was launched by its chairman from a single showroom in Aberdeen more than four decades ago.

It now owns used and new car dealerships across Scotland, including in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee, Fife and Elgin, while also operating a substantial servicing and parts business.

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