Waylands Automotive ensured that the COVID-19 pandemic was no barrier to ongoing growth as it delivered a 4% increase in revenues and 150% rise in pre-tax profits from its network of Volvo dealerships.
Revenues rose to £89 million during the 12-month period to December 31, 2020, as PBT rose from £502,000 in 2019 to £1.25m as the Reading-based retail group delivered 66.2% EBITDA growth to £2.22m (2019: £1.34m).
Although it delivered a cautious outlook for the remainder of 2021 in its annual financial results report, the AM Awards 2020’s Best Dealer Group (up to 10 sites) also outpaced the market in sales terms while delivering an improvement in return on sales from 0.6% to 1.4%.
The group revealed in its statement that it had been able to top-up the wages of its furloughed employees to 90% of their usual wages during the coronavirus crisis’ lockdown periods.
Former Ridgeway Group boss John O’Hanlon founded the Waylands Automotive group in November 2017 and the business was profiled by AM in 2019.
At the time he said described automotive retail as “an itch” that he had to scratch with a return to the trade.
Describing the ethos with which he returned to the sector, O’Hanlon said: “It is about how do we make it fun, enjoyable and a memorable experience. Part of that is about environment, but more of it is around people and culture.”
In its annual financial results, Waylands revealed that it had sold just three fewer vehicles in 2020 (1,030 versus 1,033) as volumes rose by 12.2% on a like-for-like basis in a sector down 29.4%.
Used car sales grew 7.2% from 1,360 to 1,458.
The launch of a new website platform has allowed the group to embark on end-to-end online sales transactions, along with online service booking and part-exchange valuations.
Its trading statement said that the resulting uplift in web-based enquiries had prompted the creation of a dedicated digital team to respond to leads.
In aftersales, Waylands’ revenues declined by just 1.1%, from £9.2m to £9.1m, as gross profit rose from £4.6m to £4.8m.
On the back of its 2020 performance success, Waylands announced back in February that it had joined the Kia Motor UK franchised network with the acquisition of Pendragon’s Evans Halshaw car dealership in Reading.
A further Volvo Car UK dealership is being added the group’s current portfolio of four sites (Reading, Newbury, Swindon and Oxford) with the Swedish premium brand, in Bristol.
Development of a new Volvo Retail Experience (VRE) car dealership is currently underway in the city and is expected to open its doors to customers in July.
Waylands revealed in its annual results statement that it had invested £0.5m in its existing properties during 2020.
A further £0.8m was committed to the refurbishment of its Newbury Volvo retail site.