Cambria Automobiles' first quarter trading has been in line with market forecasts but down on a year ago, both on a total and like-for-like basis.
It said the trading performance continued the trend highlighted in the group's preliminary results on 22 Nov and meant that the group was trading in line with market expectations for the full year. An update said: 'The weaker new car market has seen pressure on both volumes and margins across the three month period.
'New vehicle unit sales for the quarter were down 16.3% (like-for-like down 14.4%), with gross profit per retail unit also reducing over the same period.' The group said used vehicle sales continued to perform well on a like-for like basis.
It said: 'Whilst total used unit sales were down 9.2%, including the lost units from Swindon Motor Park (closed January 2017), like-for-like units were down 2.8% compared with the same period in the prior year.
'This unit reduction was offset by continued improvement in gross profit per unit and this performance has again enhanced the profit from the used car segment of the business.'
Overall, the group's aftersales operations delivered a good performance, with revenue increasing by 0.3% (like-for-like up 6.1%), with profitability down 0.7% year on year (like-for-like excluding the two bodyshops and Swindon Motor Park up 5.9%).
The group said the board had previously announced that it would be opening two new Bentley dealerships this month together with a McLaren dealership.
But it said that in a further development of the group's franchising strategy, the board was delighted to announce that it would also be opening a Lamborghini dealership in the first quarter of this year.
It said the Lamborghini dealership would be located in Chelmsford in the same facility as the Bentley dealership and work was under way to complete that showroom for occupation in Q1.
Looking ahead, it said: 'The board remains cautious about the new car market in light of the general uncertainty in the consumer environment and the pressure that vehicle manufacturers are under as a result of the current Sterling exchange rate.
'Nevertheless, the franchising progress that has been made through 2017 and into 2018 has further enhanced the Group's excellent portfolio of dealerships and leaves the business well positioned with strong representation in the high luxury segment of motor retail.'
At 8:05am: (LON:CAMB) Cambria Automobiles PLC share price was 0p at 61p