Mr Scott is in negotiations to merge his car dealerships with the Five Oaks Garage group which operates in Jersey and Guernsey, but which is in financial trouble because of a downturn in car sales blamed on vehicle registration duty.Mr Scott already owns Jacksons and St Helier Garages, which gives him a major share of the luxury car market.
Buying Five Oaks would add nine other brands to his empire, including Porsche, Audi, Aston Martin and Volkswagen.Mr Scott declined to talk to the JEP about the deal, but a fortnight ago the newspaper reported that he had bought property including the Five Oaks showroom and offices at St Peter.
Paul Collier, dealer principal of Jacksons, has confirmed that talks about a possible ‘merger’ are under way.
‘We are talking.
That’s where we are,’ said Mr Collier.
‘This has been brought about really as a result of a significant downturn in sales as a result of vehicle registration duty.
The market is down this year by between 35 and 40%.’Five Oaks group manager at St Peter, Craig Dempster, has said that sales there were down between 25 and 35%.
He said that VRD had hit sales of cars in the £12,000 to £25,000 bracket as well as those with large engine sizes.Mr Dempster added that high overheads for Island garages meant that dealers already operated with much smaller margins than many of their UK counterparts, and that vehicle registration duty could drive some garages and associated workshops and other operations out of business.’Higher costs obviously affect our margins,’ he said.
‘Our retained profit is naturally lower, and that has been compounded by this dramatic downturn in what is generally a difficult economic climate.’I think it is fairly well accepted that it has been a difficult year.’