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Dealers see surge in profits in Motor Trader Top 200 Report

UK motor retailers have recovered over the past 12 months from the pandemic, according to the Motor Trader Top 200 Dealer Groups.

Combined MT Top 200 turnover is up 18% to £75.1bn, which is almost back to the 2019 pre-lockdown turnover of £76.6bn

The entry level turnover for this edition of the MT Top 200 is up slightly on the previous survey from £31.2m to £33.3m

Average pre-tax profit as a percentage of sales for the entire MT Top 200 jumped to 2.87% – a substantial rise from 0.78% three years ago and 1.51% last year

The total number of staff employed by the MT Top 200 is down for the third year running at 128,646

Last year’s MT Top 200 survey noted how one-third of 2020 was lost to the retail motor industry because of lockdowns.

The overview of 2021, to which nearly 80% of group accounts refer in this report, was more of the same – more lockdowns, more showroom closures, more disruption of new car supplies. And even when all the lockdowns expired, chip shortages and supply chain issues further stifled new car deliveries.

The biggest hit of the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 was on new car sales: down from 2.31m in 2019 to 1.63m in 2020 and 1.65m in 2021. In 2022, there was no improvement with 1.61m new car registrations. In the current year, 2023, there are signs of a stronger recovery, with registrations heading towards 2m.

As might be expected, the lockdowns also affected used car sales. From 7.94m in 2019, used car sales fell to 6.75m in 2020 – down 15%. In 2021, used car sales increased to 7.53m, but fell back to 6.89m in 2022. Going forward, used car sales are highly likely to be impacted by the lack of new car sales between 2020 and 2022

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