Pendragon to focus on used cars

Pendragon, the UK's largest independent operator of franchised car dealerships, said it expects a lull in new-car sales and the demand for used-car vehicles to continue improving.

The Nottingham-based firm, which owns the Evans Halshaw and Stratstone car dealerships, reported a 23.4% decline in like-for-like sales of new cars in the quarter to September.

Sales of second-hand cars were up 7% and Pendragon said it intends to push for growth in the used-car market.

This despite the fact that after factoring out the impact of the Government's scrappage scheme, the sales of new cars was higher, at 27.6%, and total retail sales were up 30.1%.

But the company, which operates more than 300 franchises, expects the new-car market to be subdued.

In a statement, Pendragon added that it was "cautiously optimistic" of meeting full-year profit expectations.

The company's volume car retailer, Evans Halshaw - which sells brands such as Citroen, Vauxhall and Ford from 127 dealerships - saw retail sales excluding scrappage increase 43%.

Its Stratstone dealership - which focuses on luxury brands such as Ferrari, BMW and Aston Martin - saw an increase in retail sales excluding scrappage of 1.4%.

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