Consolidation is on the table again in the European retail network after a second-half rebound in auto sales eased fears that the pandemic would bring widespread dealership closures, a leading sales analyst says.
"The pandemic has probably accelerated" the trend toward consolidation, Steve Young, managing director of dealer analyst ICDP, told Automotive News Europe. "I've spoken to dealers across the EU and the general picture seems to be optimism rather than pessimism. We'll see more acquisitions," he said.
The biggest dealership groups continue to dominate sales in Europe, with Switzerland's Emil Frey retaining the No. 1 position, according to the latest ICDP ranking of the top 50 European dealer groups, which is based on 2019 revenue.
U.S.-based Penske Automotive, which has a large operation in Britain, is in second place, and the UK-based Lookers group is third. All three positions are unchanged from the previous year.