Non-UK automotive retail companies could boost investments in Britain after the country's vote to leave the EU led to a weaker pound. Last year U.S.-based Penske Group consolidated its position as Europe's No. 1 independent dealer group measured by revenue because of its increased presence in the UK, the latest annual ranking from retail analyst ICDP shows (see table above).
The pound's weakness has pushed down UK dealer groups' revenues expressed in euros, ICPD Managing Director Steve Young said. "It also makes UK groups more attractive to overseas investors," he said.
Penske acquired CarShop, a leading UK used-car retailer, earlier this year. South Africa's Super Group bought two British dealer groups this year to take its site count to 31, while last year Hong Kong based Lei Shing Hong bought 14 Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the UK from Daimler.
"The rand has been strong compared to the pound for the past six months and that has helped us in our plans," Super Group finance chief Colin Brown told Automotive Management magazine in July.
UK-based dealer groups occupy a third of the ICDP ranking of Europe's top 50 independent dealer groups, with the top 10 UK groups accounting for about a quarter of new-car sales in Britain last year.
In the rest of Europe, economic improvement has led to better dealer group results and to increasing levels of consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, especially in France and Germany, according to ICDP's Young. There has been some recovery in the position of German groups, especially at the lower end of the top 50 ranking, Young said. The recovery of French groups has been slow, except for Choppard Lallier and Jean Rouyer, he added.