Automotive Blog

2018 Guide to Europe’s Biggest Dealer Groups

Top 50
Every year, ICDP tracks the evolution, fortunes, and strategies of the largest independent dealer groups across Europe.  One of the outputs from this research is our ranking, by turnover, of the Top 50 independent (so non-manufacturer-owned) groups, a valuable resource for all in the sector that is available to our member companies, and which we also publish in Automotive News Europe.
The 2018 Top 50 ranking, which provided the status of Europe’s largest groups at the close of 2017, illustrates revenues, new and used car sales (divided into retail and wholesale where possible), the numbers of different brands represented, plus the number of franchise points operated.
In the 2018 ranking, this European Top 50 accounted for a little more than 10% of all new car sales in the region, broadly similar to last year’s ranking.  But we see now a new name at the top of the league table, that of Emil Frey (number 5 in the 2017 ranking), who boosted both their outlet count and revenues through the acquisition of 275 dealerships from the VW Group’s Porsche Holding Salzburg in 2017.
As in previous years, the UK dealer groups feature strongly in the league table, although their revenues (when expressed in Euros for the sake of comparability) have been hit by the weakening of the Pound following the Brexit vote, something which has increased their attractiveness as potential takeover targets for foreign investors, including dealer groups from other parts of the world such as Lei Shing Hong. Meanwhile, the leading dealer groups in Continental Europe have continued the trend of recent years in growing and consolidating through merger and acquisition activities (although with significant differences in deal volumes and values by market), which themselves have been spurred by improving economic and car market performance.
The dealer group world never sits still, and as we prepare for the 2019 edition of the ranking, we are already expecting some further major deals, some of which are currently under scrutiny by national competition authorities, to be confirmed.  It will be interesting to see who else will stand out amongst the risers and fallers in the league table over the coming months.
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