Inchcape’s UK and European retail operations saw operating profits jump more than 200% to £82.1 million in 2021.

Inchcape also announced a global roll-out for its Bravoauto used car operation, recently launched in the UK.

In 2020 Inchcape reported an operating profit of £24.6m on a turnover of £3.02bn for its UK and European retail business.

Inchcape stopped giving detailed UK figures for its retail business two years ago.

Duncan Tait, Group CEO of the PLC highlighted improved margins due to supply shortages as a key reason for the improvement.

Inchcape to sell off 20% of its dealers

“Inchcape delivered a strong set of FY21 results, with improved performance across all regions. Robust consumer demand and excellent operational execution, against the backdrop of supply shortages, drove our topline recovery and higher margins. This enabled profits to rebound to pre-pandemic levels. We are pleased to declare a higher full-year dividend. Also, we have announced another £100m share buyback programme,” said Mr Tait.

“During the year we launched our new strategy, Accelerate, which is focused on two exciting growth opportunities. Our ambition is to extend our global leadership in automotive distribution, and to capture more of a vehicle’s lifecycle value. We’ve made great progress with our strategic priorities. We’ve added new markets and OEMs through acquisitions and contract-wins, and further developing our digital and analytics capabilities. Inchcape has a really exciting future. We are well-positioned to deliver sustainable long-term value for all of our stakeholders through organic growth, market consolidation and cash generation.”

A spokesman for the firm added: “The group’s strong performance in 2021 was supported by robust consumer demand and high vehicle gross margins (particularly in retail), largely due to vehicle supply shortages.”

Inchcape PLC reported a profit before tax and exceptionals of £296m on a revenue of £7.64bn. After exceptionals – mainly losses due to the disposal of its Russian retail business – the profit before tax figure was £195m.