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Motor dealer group Cambria Automobiles saw a record turnover during the past year with revenue up by 17.3% to £614.2m – the first time it has exceeded £600m.
Its annual report and financial statements for the year ending 31st August 2016 showed a £4m rise in operating profit to £12.4m – an increase of 47.6% – as well as pre-tax profit up from £7.7m to £11.8m, representing an upturn of 53.2%.
The group now has 31 dealerships representing 46 franchises and 17 brands, spanning the high-luxury, premium and volume segments. Over the past year, it disposed of its Croydon and Exeter Jaguar dealerships and closed its Exeter Aston Martin showroom, but acquired the Woodford Jaguar and Land Rover dealership and Welwyn Garden City Land Rover, as well as opening its third Aston Martin business in Birmingham.
Chief executive Mark Lavery said: “The acquisitions that we have made will contribute to revenue growth in the next financial year. I am pleased with the investments that we have made during the course of the year.”
Chairman Philip Swatman added: “The UK economy is in a period of uncertainty while the ramifications of leaving the EU are worked through. There is a lack of clarity on how any free trade agreements will be negotiated and there are major implications for the sterling exchange rate and other fiscal levers.”
Arnold Clark has been named Employer of the Month for December by youth employment strategy group Developing the Young Workforce Glasgow in recognition of its efforts to support young people in the workplace. Last year, the company – which is Europe’s largest independently owned, family-run car company – fulfilled 267 apprentice vacancies and has placed 238 young people in work experience positions during the 2015/2016 academic year.
It has also worked in partnership with the Prince’s Trust since 2008, and is the lead supporter of the charity’s Achieve programme, which gives young people the opportunity to learn new skills. Through the initiative, Arnold Clark has developed relationships with local schools to help promote a career in the automotive industry, as well as offering workplace visits, mock interviews and placements. There is also the chance for participants to learn about apprenticeships and get help with creating a CV.
Sir Arnold Clark established Arnold Clark Automobiles in 1954 with the company’s first garage in Glasgow’s West End. The organisation now employs more than 10,000 staff nationwide.
Car Dealer Magazine
White remains the colour of choice according to Axalta’s Global Automotive 2016 Colour Popularity Report.
Four in 10 cars worldwide are white, while in Africa the numbers are even higher with 63% of cars either white or silver. In China, more than half of vehicles sold are white. Solid white is more popular than pearl white by more than 39%. Conversely, Japan prefers pearl white (27%) to solid white (7%). At 17%, grey is more popular in Europe than any other region. Black is declining and now seven percentage points behind first place white.
In North America, grey is making a mark rising 2% in popularity and lengthening its lead over silver, while in Russia beige/brown is at 8%, just as in China. No other region reaches that mark. In South America, green comes in at 5%, tied with Russia for green’s most popular regions.
The survey of over 260 UK business leaders and decision makers by leading regional law firm Howes Percival found that the referendum vote had so far had little or no impact on businesses.
Following the Brexit vote in June, 47% of respondents admitted they had taken no action so far, while 70% said that their employment plans remained unchanged following the referendum. Despite this, there remains a feeling of uncertainty amongst many business owners and directors with the survey highlighting significant variability across different sectors of the economy.
However, the Howes Percival survey found that the views differed great between different sectors and respondents in Agriculture, Automotive and Professional Services said they were generally feeling positive now they have had time to reflect on the outcome of the referendum, with 78.5% of Agriculture, 60% of Automotive, and 46% of Professional Services respondents reporting that they are feeling positive or less negative about Brexit.
Dealer leads from online enquiries grew by 62% in Q3, according to new customer research by Dealerweb, the showroom management system provider. Dealerweb collated data from volume and premium brand dealers across the UK and found that leads from walk-in rose by just 0.6%. The research found that by combining online, walk-in and telephone enquiries dealers saw an overall increase of 21% year-on-year.
“Although the actual volume of customers visiting dealerships remains higher than that of online enquiries, this dramatic growth in the number of web-based customer enquiries represents a marked shift in consumer behaviour,” said James Hill, Dealerweb’s sales operations director.
Dealerweb also recently surveyed 1,000 UK motorists on their expectations of the car buying process. The research found that 49% of buyers are more likely to complete a new or used car purchase if they receive a response to an online enquiry within one hour.
A quarter of these buyers said they expect dealers to respond in under 30 minutes and 34% of buyers would take their enquiry elsewhere if the dealer did not respond in under four hours.
Volvo Car UK has further improved its in-car connectivity with the introduction of Android Auto smartphone integration to its range-topping 90 series models.
Android Auto, which is now available as part of a new Smartphone Integration package that also includes Apple CarPlay, allows users of Android smartphones to connect their device directly to their Volvo’s Sensus media system. A wide range of Android-optimised apps – including Google Maps and Google Play Music – are then available directly via the car’s touch screen. Users can also make and receive calls, and send and receive text messages using Android Auto. Alternatively, these functions can be controlled using the car’s or the phone’s sophisticated voice control system, so users can stay connected while keeping their eyes safely on the road at all times.
Ride sharing company Uber has launched a self-driving pilot in San Francisco, US, using specially converted Volvo XC90 SUVs. Uber and Volvo first revealed plans to work together earlier in 2016, involving the supply of 100 XC90s, as part of Uber’s bid to have a fully-autonomous car road ready by the year 2021. The two companies have agreed to contribute a combined $300m towards the project.
The vehicles will drive around the streets of San Francisco autonomously, but as part of the pilot programme they will at all times have an Uber technician on board to supervise the car’s operation.
For Volvo, the Uber agreement marks just one part of its plan to develop an autonomous car. In January 2017, Volvo will launch a project called ‘Drive ME,’ which will involve 100 autonomous drive cars being given to members of the public to be driven on real roads around Gothenburg, Sweden.
Norway is setting the pace in the adoption of electric vehicles with more than 100,000 units now on its roads – but it plans to quadruple that number within three years. With a population of 5.2 million and EV sales accounting for 20% of all new car registrations, the county now boasts the world’s highest number of electric cars per capita and is saving about 200,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. Sales have been driven by generous state-funded measures including tax breaks, free city tolls and free parking.
The first hydrogen fuel cell-powered truck cab has been unveiled in the US. The Nikola Motor Company’s Nikola One was revealed at the firm’s headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, last week, and comes with a 320kWh battery powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, which will keep the battery topped up and give the truck a range of between 800 and 1,200 miles. Power is fed to each of the chassis’s six wheels via individual electric motors.
The company says the truck will be introduced to US highways by 2018, with plans in place for a network of at least 350 refuelling stations and backing from one of the USA’s most prominent truck and van rental firms, Ryder, which will manage the leasing and distribution requirements for the truck. It will come with rental rates of between $5,000 and $7,000 per month, with no upfront purchase cost, over a minimum term of 72 months (six years).