Cambria hits speed bump as car sales decline

Automotive retailer Cambria said Friday performance in the first three months of the current financial year to November had been in line with management expectations even as new car sales fell owing to regulatory changes.

New vehicle unit sales for the quarter were down 24.9%, and like-for-like down 21.0% as changes in the emissions testing regime introduced in September weighed down performance. Sales of new retail cars to private guests were down 18.8%.

The drop in sales was offset somewhat by improved gross profit.

The gross profit per retail unit improved significantly on a total basis, however, as a result of the stronger mix from the new franchised outlets representing Bentley, Lamborghini and McLaren, the company said.

Total used unit sales were down 10.5% and down 2.9% on a like-for-like basis compared with the same period in the prior year, though this was also offset by continued improvement in gross profit per unit.

Aftersales operations delivered a 'good performance,' the company said, with revenue increasing by 1.9%, like-for-like sales rising 2.6%, and gross profit up 6.5% year on year.

Looking ahead, the company said it remained cautious amid Brexit uncertainty, but added that the Group's franchising and property development had further enhanced its excellent portfolio of dealerships, leaving the business 'well positioned' for the year ahead, with strong representation across the premium and high luxury segments of motor retail.