Apperley Bridge firm in confident mood

Wharfedale Observer: JCT600’s sales director, Andrew Coulthurst, says the firm will end the year on a high. JCT600’s sales director, Andrew Coulthurst, says the firm will end the year on a high.

A leading motor dealership has bucked the trend and reported a 19 per cent boost in new car sales over the past year.

Apperley Bridge-based JCT600 says demand for second-hand vehicles remains strong with a newly launched Rawdon car supermarket already set to become its busiest used car outlet after only a month’s trading.

JCT600’s sales director, Andrew Coulthurst, said: “Sales of new cars have been healthy throughout 2010 and it looks like we will be ending the year on a high with a good number of orders going forward despite the imminent rise in VAT.

“After a slight dip in used car sales during the summer, we have seen a recovery in the last quarter with used cars tracking a ten per cent increase year on year, and in recent weeks we’ve outsold many of the traditionally stronger weeks earlier in the year.

“Quality used cars always outstrip demand in the New Year and, with this in mind, all of our dealerships have been stocking up with the best selection before Christmas.

“Our newest car dealership, the Price Right car supermarket at Rawdon, which has only been open for just over a month, is already on track to be our busiest used car dealership in 2011.

“Our Take it Now service at Price Right, which enables customers to order their used car in the morning and drive it away in the afternoon of the same day, is proving very popular, particularly as it means customers can beat the January VAT increase.”

Mr Coulthurst said JCT600 had completed orders for 30,000 new and used cars at its 48 dealerships – enough to form a 76-mile traffic queue from its dealerships in Sticker Lane, Bradford, to Hull.

The 60-year-old family-owned company has dealerships in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and the North East.

JCT600’s buoyant sales update came as industry figures showed an 11.5 per cent fall in new car registrations last month.

David Raistrick, Leeds-based automotive partner at accountants Deloitte, said: “November’s 11.5 per cent fall in car registration figures is another blow to the automotive industry as numbers decline for the fifth consecutive month.

“While it was always unlikely that the figures would exceed last year’s, which were fuelled by scrappage, the recent cold snap has not helped given that people have been kept away from showrooms.

“The figures are a stark reminder of the challenges that lie ahead for the motor industry into 2011.

“As consumer and business confidence remains unsettled, it is doubtful that either private or business sales will grow in the New Year.

“I stand by my prediction that new vehicle sales for 2011 will be closer to the 1.8 million unit mark.”

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