CAR retailer JCT600, which is headquartered in Bradford, has recorded a strong performance once again with turnover reaching a new high of £1.277billion.

For one of Yorkshire’s largest privately owned businesses, this equates to a rise of two per cent from £1.251 billion the year before.

John Tordoff, chief executive of JCT600, commented: “As a long-established Yorkshire-based business with a reputation for leading the way in the automotive sector, we are proving able to continue to outperform the market. While keeping customers firmly at the core of everything we do, we are nimble enough to be able to adapt to changing conditions while continuing to invest for the future.”

Recognising that new car sales in 2018 would continue to be a challenge due to economic uncertainty caused by Brexit, together with supply problems resulting from the WLTP regulations - a test which measures fuel consumption and CO2 emissions - the company again focussed on its used car sales operation and aftersales services, as well as keeping a tight control on costs.

While there was a UK market reduction of 2.1 per cent on used vehicle sales, JCT600 increased this key part of its business by 9 per cent; and it also grew revenues from aftersales by 3.9 per cent. This strategy helped to offset an 8.4 per cent fall in new car sales on a like for like basis.

As well as increasing turnover, the group also saw a slight uplift in operating profit before exceptional items, rising from £23.1m in 2017 to £23.2m for the year ending December 31, 2018.

Nigel Shaw, group finance director at JCT600, added: “It has been a challenging year for the new car market with supply issues caused by the introduction of the WLTP emissions regime resulting in restrictions in many brands. However, we have been able to focus on developing other areas of our operations. It’s also encouraging that despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty, customer confidence and economic performance remain relatively strong, boosted by low unemployment and interest rates.”

During the year, JCT600 continued its commitment to improving the customer experience by upgrading its showrooms, investing a total of £9million.

The group also increased investment in its digital platform by 14per cent in 2018, with the number of visitors to the website rising by 20 per cent and smart phone traffic growing by 33 per cent. The total number of web leads generated increased by 15 per cent, and followers of JCT600’s main social media channels rose by 51 per cent.