Auto Trader profits rise 10% on prices, online finance


A rise in used car prices and publishing online finance deals helped profits at online marketplace Auto Trader Group rise by 10 per cent last year.

Annual pre-tax profit climbed from £193.4m to £210.8m, on revenues that were 7 per cent higher at £330.1m.

During the year ending March 31, the company introduced a way for consumers to search for cars by monthly payment, rather than by their sticker price. 

This is important because almost all new cars, and an increasingly large number of used cars, are bought through PCP that incurs monthly payments pegged to the vehicle’s depreciation. 

The payments therefore can bear little relation to the traditional “sticker price” of the car itself, with premium models that hold their value well sometimes cheaper than cars from mass market rivals. 

“We have taken a big step in our strategy of improving car buying in the UK by launching the Dealer Finance product which allows consumers to find their next car by monthly payment,” said Auto Trader chief executive Trevor Mather. 

Used car prices also rise during the year, in part because of a fall in new car sales across the UK. 

New car sales fell 11 per cent in the 12 months to March 2018 to 2.4m, according to figures from trade body SMMT. 

While used car sales nationwide fell 3 per cent to 7.9m, the average selling price of used vehicles rose 5.4 per cent to £12,171. 

Mr Mather said: “Despite the challenging conditions for our customers in the past 12 months we have clearly seen that those who engage more closely with our products and our data are able to gain market share and improve efficiency.” 

The company expects Average Revenue Per Retailer forecourt (ARPR), one of its key indicators, to grow more slowly this year than last, due to fewer cars coming onto the market. 

Last year ARPR per month rose by £149 to £1,695 from £1,546 in 2017.



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