Vertu drives foward aftersales surge

CAR dealership Vertu Motors yesterday said it expected to hit forecasts after a surge in sales of new and used cars.

The group has seen a 6.7 per cent jump in like-for-like sales volumes of new cars in the five months to July.

Vertu’s rise came despite the end of the scrappage scheme which had fuelled sales rises.

But used car sales were up 5.2 per cent with demand returning to the secondhand market.

Vertu said its parts division had delivered a “very strong performance”, helping to buoy its overall aftersales business.

Service and bodyshop sales rose 2.4 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively on a like-for-like basis. The company said cost savings had helped boost margins.

However, fleet and commercial new vehicle sales volumes fell on a like-for-like basis by 7.1 per cent in the five months to July 2010 due to Vertu taking on less low margin car fleet business.

The group, which launched in 2006 with aims to grow by acquisition, bought another eight outlets in the half year. Further acquisitions are also on the horizon, with Vertu saying it was looking at a number of deals and “growth opportunities”.

Vertu, which is the UK’s eighth largest dealership, said: “Following this encouraging start to the financial year, the group is in a strong financial position. “However the macro-economic outlook continues to appear fragile and the board therefore remains cautious on the second-half trading outlook,” it said.

The company has embarked on a number of franchise deals with the likes of Alfa Romeo and Fiat.