Auto Trader accelerates further ahead of its competition

The online car marketplace Auto Trader has accelerated its performance, strengthening its dominance by attracting a record numbers of buyers and sellers.

The Manchester-headquartered company is the UK’s largest platform for buying and selling new and used cars, claiming more than 75% of all minutes spent on automotive classified sites.

It had 445,000 cars on its site, with its size and reach resulting in two-thirds of car buyers only using Auto Trader’s platform.

Auto Trader increased pre-tax profits by 18% to £345m. Revenues for the year to March rose 14% to £571m.

Nathan Coe, chief executive of Auto Trader, said: “This has been another year of strong financial, operational and strategic progress for Auto Trader.

“We are confident in our prospects for the year ahead and, in the longer term, we see significant opportunities to continue growing our marketplace and to move more of the car buying process online, on Auto Trader.”

It said the new car retail market “has been more challenging and discounting has started to return”. Its new car listings were down 20%, and represent fewer than 1-in-20 cars on the marketplace.

However the company believes the new car market “remains a significant opportunity”.

Auto Trader’s share price is trading at close to an all-time high, with the FTSE-100 company valued at around £6.6bn.

It returned £250m to shareholders during the year, with around two-thirds through share buybacks and the remainder paid out in dividends.

Dan Coatsworth, investment analyst at AJ Bell said: “Auto Trader motored ahead on publication of its full-year results. An upbeat tone from the platform operator put a rocket under the share price and took it to a new record high.”

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...